Publicly-Parked Car Not Seized After Arrest

State v. ParkerNo. 112,959 (Kan. Dec. 7, 2018)

Issue: Parker was arrested outside his locked car. His car sat in a public parking lot until a drug dog arrived to sniff the vehicle. Was his car unlawfully “seized” by the officers during this time?  

Answer: No, because there was no meaningful interference with Parker’s possessory interest in the vehicle.

Facts: A police officer signaled for Parker to pull over after observing Parker driving with no lights on. Parker eventually—but not immediately—pulled over in a public parking lot. Parker exited his vehicle, locked it, and was subsequently arrested. He did not consent to a vehicle search. The officer called for a drug dog because he discovered a large amount of cash on Parker and had seen him digging near the center console during the pursuit. The locked vehicle sat in the public lot for an hour until a drug dog arrived. 

Discussion: Property seizure occurs when an officer interferes with the defendant’s possessory interest in his property. Because the officers did not take the car into their own control, and because Parker had no expectation of privacy in a parking lot, no seizure occurred. While Parker was prevented from accessing his car, this was only because he had been seized (though lawfully).

Key Authorities:

United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109 (1984) (“[Seizure] occurs when there is some meaningful interference with an individual’s possessory interests in that property.”)

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