BUSL 18 TTH 9:45-11:10
16 September 2010
I. Case Title and Citation:
People v. McCabe, 144 Cal.App.3d 827 (1983)
II. Statement of Facts:
Catherine McCabe was charged with possession of cocaine. She pleaded not guilty. Her
suppression of evidence was denied and she pleaded guilty to the lesser included offense of
possession of cocaine. Court placed her on probation on the condition in which she must serve
12 days in the county jail and that she pays a $1,000 fine.
The police obtained a search warrant for the seizure of cocaine, marijuana and other
narcotics on 838 Rorke Way in Palo Alto. The police found the appellant’s purse on a table and
opened the purse where they found the bindles of cocaine. The appellant argues that the search of
her purse was unlawful, because the police had no right to search a visitors belongings. The
police may rely on a search warrant to search anywhere and anything they believe something
might be concealed.
III. Issue Presented:
1. Did the Police lawfully seize the cocaine from appellant’s purse where they had a
search warrant to search the home in which appellant was visiting?
IV. Short Answer:
1. Yes, the police did lawfully seize the cocaine from the appellant’s purse, because they
had a search warrant to search the home and that gave them the right to search the belongings of
anyone who was in the house at the time of the search.
Although the police have a search warrant to search the house, they may still lawfully
search the personal belongings of a resident of the premises where the personal belongings may
hold goods that are illegal to possess at anytime. The court gave the order to the police that
during the execution of the search warrant, they may lawfully search personal belongings under
specified conditions of non-residents who are found on the premises at the time of the search.
When the police know that the personal belongings found on the property belong to a
non-resident, the police may use the authority of the search warrant to conduct a search of
personal belongings that belong to a non-resident if someone conceals an illegal substance prior
to the execution of the search warrant. The search of the purse was lawful only if the police had
no knowledge that the purse was the property of a non-resident.
1. The Police in Lawfully executing a search warrant may seize personal belonging when
they suspect that the person is trying to conceal something that could get them in trouble with the
law. Police will always be able to use a search warrant as a way of being able to search personal
belongings that they believe may hold illegal substances.