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State high court: Ohio trooper wrongly searched arrestee's purse

Posted at 12:25 PM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-23 12:25:56-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court says a state trooper conducted an unconstitutional search when he retrieved a detained woman’s purse from a vehicle during a traffic stop, and drug evidence he found should have been excluded at trial.

Justices on Tuesday sent the Warren County case back to trial court, ordering that evidence from the purse be suppressed.

An opinion written by Justice William O’Neill says the trooper entered the vehicle without a warrant or reasonable justification, and the patrol’s policy to retrieve and inventory an arrestee’s belongings wasn’t enough to justify the 2014 search.

Two dissenting justices say the trooper legally accessed and searched the purse. A third dissenting justice argued that the court shouldn’t have heard the case because it doesn’t deal with a legal question of broad application.