United States v. Lopez, No. 06-3730-cr (2d Cir. November 10, 2008) (Kearse, Leval, Cabranes, CJJ)
Police officers arrested Lopez for drunk driving. He has a gun in his pocket. Meanwhile, other officers, while looking for Lopez’ girlfriend’s identification, found cocaine in her purse.
Both were arrested and the car was brought to the 41st Precinct, where officers conducted an inventory search. This produced, in addition to some innocuous personal items, two glassines of cocaine in the center console, and a bag in the trunk that contained cocaine and cocaine trafficking equipment. Later, while arranging for a family member to pick up his personal belongings, an officer looked in the glove compartment of the car and found a second gun.
After a combined suppression hearing and bench trial, Lopez was convicted and received a seventy-month sentence.
On appeal, he challenged the inventory search on the grounds that it was not a …