SCOTUS: Police Need Warrant to Search Vehicle Near Home

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police cannot search a vehicle parked next to a house on private property without a warrant. A Virginia police officer arrested Ryan Collins after confirming that he’d stolen a Suzuki motorcycle by lifting up a tarp covering the bike, which was parked on private property. According to the Wall Street Journal, Collins was convicted in state court and argued that the police violated “Fourth Amendment precedents” that would require a warrant before search. Under the Fourth Amendment, the “automobile exception” allows for cars to be searched without a warrant if “probable cause exists to believe it contains contraband.” “In physically intruding on the curtilage of Collins’ home to search the motorcycle, Office Rhodes not only invaded Collins’ Fourth Amendment interest in the item searched, i.e. the motorcycle, but also invaded Collins' Fourth Amendment interest in the curtilage of his home,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her opinion. “The question before the court is whether the automobile exception justifies the invasion of the curtilage. The answer is no.”