from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Randy V.
appeals his conviction claiming automobile exception to
search warrant requirement should be abandoned. DISTRICT
COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.
J. Rothman of McEnroe, Gotsdiner, Brewer, Steinbach &
Rothman, P.C., for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, Kevin Cmelik and Louis S.
Sloven, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee.
appeal, we must decide whether to abandon the automobile
exception to the search warrant requirement under article I,
section 8 of the Iowa Constitution. In State v.
Gaskins, we did not reach that issue, but members of
this court noted the rationale for the exception may be
eroded by technological advances enabling police to obtain
warrants from the scene of a traffic stop. 866 N.W.2d 1, 17
(Iowa 2015) (Cady, C.J., concurring specially). The defendant
driver in today's case was lawfully stopped for a seat
belt violation. The deputy smelled marijuana and searched the
vehicle, discovering marijuana packaged for resale. The
defendant was charged with possession with intent to deliver
in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(d)
(2015). He filed a motion to suppress, claiming this
warrantless search violated the Iowa Constitution because
police can now obtain warrants electronically from the side
of the road. The district court denied the motion after an
evidentiary hearing that included testimony that it would
have taken well over an hour to obtain a search warrant. The
defendant was convicted, and we retained his appeal.
review, we conclude, based on the evidence in the record,
that this deputy was unable to obtain a warrant
electronically from the scene of the traffic stop, and the
procedures in place at that time required a warrant
application to be presented in person to a judicial officer.
For the reasons further explained below, we elect to retain
the automobile exception, consistent with our precedent,
federal caselaw, and the overwhelming majority of other
states. We are guided by the decisions of other states that
abandoned the automobile exception only to reinstate it.
Their experience shows the easy-to-apply automobile exception
is preferable to the alternative-a less predictable,
case-by-case exigency determination resulting in prolonged
roadside seizures awaiting a warrant, with attendant dangers
and no net gain for civil liberties. We may revisit this
issue at a future time when roadside electronic warrants have
become more practical. Today, we affirm the district
court's ruling denying the defendant's motion to
suppress and defendant's conviction.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
afternoon of April 19, 2015, sheriff's deputy Clay
Leonard was on patrol in Dallas County at the intersection of
Highway 141 and Wendover. He saw a male driving a
dark-colored Chevrolet pickup truck without wearing a seat
belt. The deputy activated his emergency lights to stop the
driver. He reported to dispatch the location of the traffic
stop, about a twenty-five-minute drive from the Dallas County
courthouse. He walked to the driver's side window and
asked for the lone occupant's license and registration.
As they talked, he noticed that the driver, Christopher
Storm, "appeared to be nervous, hands shaking and quick
labored breaths." Deputy Leonard "could smell the
distinct odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle." He
brought Storm back to the front seat of his patrol car for
questioning. Storm made a call on his cell phone, and two of
his acquaintances arrived. Storm initially denied smoking
marijuana or having any in his truck, but after further
discussion, he admitted to using marijuana previously and
having a criminal record. Over Storm's objection, Deputy
Leonard searched the truck. He found several packages of
marijuana, a scale, a grinder, a pipe, an e-cigarette with
residue, and pills in an unmarked bottle. These items were
removed, and Storm was placed under arrest. One of
Storm's acquaintances drove his truck away after the
marijuana found in Storm's truck totaled forty-seven
grams. The fourteen pills in the unmarked bottle were
amphetamine/ dextroamphetamine, with no prescription.
Storm's cell phone had text messages showing he had been
selling marijuana. The State charged Storm by trial
information with possession with intent to deliver marijuana
in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(d); tax
stamp violations under sections 453B.1, 453B.3, 453B.4, and
453B.12; and unlawful possession of a prescription drug in
violation of section 155A.21.
filed a motion to suppress. He argued that a warrantless
search of a vehicle based solely upon probable cause no
longer comports with article I, section 8 of the Iowa
Constitution because new technology enables officers to file
warrant applications at the scene of the traffic stop. The
State resisted, and the district court conducted an
Leonard and Lieutenant Adam Infante testified for the State.
Deputy Leonard testified that it is a "routine
occurrence" that he is the only law enforcement officer
"dealing with multiple individuals or suspects." If
he has to call for assistance, it could be thirty to forty
minutes before another officer arrives. When he stopped
Storm, Deputy Leonard had a personal cell phone, a
department-issued flip phone, and an in-car computer. His
internet connection was "slow" at that location. He
lacked the equipment to remotely obtain a warrant.
Leonard also testified about the time needed to write a
search warrant application:
Q. How long, in your experience, has it taken you to author
search warrants? A. By the time I get back to the police
department or my office . . . to type it up, make phone
calls, get ahold of a county attorney to look over it, review
it-I also have to get assistance because I'm not, I
don't do it all the time, so I either have a detective or
somebody else that writes them up assist me.
And then, after making phone calls, getting ahold of them,
sending the document back and forth maybe to fix,
grammatically fix a couple things or something, then the
judge signs it.
Most of the time I have to go to the judge's house if
it's after hours. It's 5, 6 hours by the time I get
everything done and be able to execute the warrant.
noted how having to write a warrant in the patrol car would
change this process:
Well, typing up documents, trying to put everything into the
document that's required by law, and trying to watch
somebody or what's going on at the scene, or timewise, et
cetera, is-I mean, it takes away from me being able to keep
observation around me, keep me safe, et cetera.
Infante, who estimated he had written "hundreds" of
warrants, testified it would take him, in a
"[b]are-bones case, " "about an hour." He
outlined the complexity of the warrant process:
First thing you need to do in the search warrant is identify
with specificity the item or property to be searched. In this
case a vehicle make, model, VIN, license plate, color,
location of the vehicle, that sort of thing.
Next step would be to determine the items that you're
looking for in said vehicle. Which, once again, has to be
After that I would lay out my affidavit for why I believe
there's probable cause to search the vehicle for the
items that I'm looking for.
The next step would be to add an attachment B if there was
any sort of outside information that I might have received
from another law enforcement officer or informant of some
In Dallas County the judges prefer that we assist them with
filling out the endorsement, where in some other counties
that's not the case. Then I would contact the county
attorney to get their approval of the search warrant, to
discuss any details or items that I might have left out. And
then after I have had the county attorney's approval I
would then begin the arduous task of tracking down a judge.
testified tracking down a judge can be difficult, whether it
is "3 or 4 o'clock in the morning" or "3
o'clock in the afternoon" because they are often
involved in other business such as hearings, appearances, or
Infante acknowledged he takes a "cautious" approach
to search warrants, explaining the importance of accuracy:
I've lost a search warrant in this very courtroom before
for not being correct. You only have one opportunity to write
a search warrant and get it signed by a judge. Once it's
signed, sealed, that's it. You don't get an
opportunity to go back and edit it or make corrections or
had to apply for a search warrant from his squad car,
"It would be hard for [him to] do a good job. It would
be hard for [him] to be accurate with having to pay attention
to [the driver] and also keep an eye on the property to be
searched." He noted the challenge of multitasking while
using the in-car computer:
There's a misconception that these in-car computers are,
you know you're going to sit there and you're going
to write all your reports on this in-car computer. That's
not the case. These computers issue citations, warnings; they
do some accidents. A scanner is involved in that. The
entering on the computer is minimal.
We're not typing an affidavit on our in-car computer.
We're going back to the office where we can sit down,
face a computer, do it correctly.
These deputies are turned sideways; they're [not looking]
out the side of the window to make sure nobody hits them;
they're watching the guy in the back seat. The in-car
computer is not what people think it is.
Infante also testified there was no process for submitting
warrants electronically to judges in Dallas County.
presented testimony from Bryan Barker, a criminal defense
attorney and former police officer and prosecutor, who
estimated he could fill out a warrant application in fifteen
minutes. However, Barker qualified his testimony by stating
he would be making extensive use of "boilerplate."
He noted it likely would take another "15 to . . . 30
minutes" to get approval from a judge, assuming the
warrant could be sent electronically and the judge was
available, for a total of thirty to forty-five minutes.
district court denied Storm's motion to suppress,
concluding that Iowa statutes and rules "expressly
anticipate that [a] warrant application will be signed under
oath in the actual physical presence of the judge or
magistrate." The district court applied the automobile
exception, stating, "Under these circumstances, mobility
of the vehicle was more than a theoretical or presumed
problem, " and "[a] very real possibility existed
that the vehicle would be driven away from this location
before a warrant could be obtained by any means." The
district court made a factual finding that "Deputy
Leonard did not have available to him at the time and place
of this search the technology or training that would have
allowed submission" of an electronic warrant.
was convicted of possession with intent to deliver at a bench
trial on the minutes of testimony. He was given a suspended
prison sentence of no more than five years and placed on two
years of probation. He appealed, and we retained the appeal.
Standard of Review.
a defendant challenges a district court's denial of a
motion to suppress based upon the deprivation of a state or
federal constitutional right, our standard of review is de
novo." State v. Brown, 890 N.W.2d 315, 321
(Iowa 2017). We look to the entire record and "make
'an independent evaluation of the totality of the
circumstances.' " Id. (quoting In re
Prop. Seized from Pardee, 872 N.W.2d 384, 390 (Iowa
2015)). "We give deference to the district court's
fact findings due to its opportunity to assess the
credibility of the witnesses, but we are not bound by those
findings." Id. (quoting Pardee, 872
N.W.2d at 390).
asks us to abandon the automobile exception, contending its
rationale has been eroded by new technology allowing warrants
to be obtained promptly from the scene of the traffic stop.
On our de novo review, we find the evidentiary record belies
Storm's factual premise. Like the district court, we find
that Deputy Leonard lacked the capability to obtain a search
warrant from the scene of the traffic stop and that it would
have taken over an hour to get a warrant to search
Storm's truck. Based on this evidentiary record and our
survey of precedent nationwide, we retain the automobile
exception and affirm the district court.
The Automobile Exception's History and
Supreme Court has recognized a 'specifically established
and well-delineated' exception to the warrant requirement
for searches of automobiles and their contents."
State v. Allensworth, 748 N.W.2d 789');">748 N.W.2d 789, 792 (Iowa
2008) (quoting California v. Acevedo, 500 U.S. 565,
580, 111 S.Ct. 1982, 1991 (1991)). "[T]his exception is
applicable when probable cause and exigent circumstances
exist at the time the car is stopped by police."
State v. Holderness, 301 N.W.2d 733, 736 (Iowa
1981). The inherent mobility of motor vehicles satisfies the
exigent-circumstances requirement. Id. at 737.
automobile exception rests on twin rationales: (1) the
inherent mobility of the vehicle, and (2) the lower
expectation of privacy in vehicles compared to homes and
other structures. Allensworth, 748 N.W.2d at 793-94.
There was no procedure in place in Dallas County in 2015 for
Deputy Leonard to obtain a search warrant electronically from
the scene of his traffic stop. We decline to replace the easy-to-apply
automobile exception with a case-by-case exigency
determination that results in less predictable, inconsistent
outcomes and prolonged seizures with roadside hazards and no
net gain in liberty. Vehicles remain inherently mobile with
reduced expectations of privacy, while rapid roadside
warrants are not yet a realistic option. We conclude the twin
rationales for the automobile exception remain valid.
The inherent mobility of the automobile.
United States Supreme Court first recognized the automobile
exception to the search-warrant requirement in Carroll v.
United States, 267 U.S. 132, 45 S.Ct. 280 (1925). The
Carroll Court addressed when police could search the
vehicles of bootleggers suspected of transporting liquor
during the Prohibition. Id. at 160, 45 S.Ct. at
287-88. After surveying federal law since the adoption of the
Fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court observed,
[T]he guaranty of freedom from unreasonable searches and
seizures by the Fourth Amendment has been construed,
practically since the beginning of the government, as
recognizing a necessary difference between the search of a
store, dwelling house, or other structure in respect of which
a proper official warrant readily may be obtained and a
search of a ship, motor boat, wagon, or automobile for
contraband goods, where it is not practicable to secure a
warrant, because the vehicle can be quickly moved out of the
locality or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be sought.
Id. at 153, 45 S.Ct. at 285. Given the inherent
mobility of the automobile and the impracticability of
securing a warrant, the Carroll Court held a
warrantless search would be lawful if the officer had
"reasonable or probable cause for believing that the
automobile which he stops and seizes has contraband."
Id. at 156, 45 S.Ct. at 286.
years later in Chambers v. Maroney, the Supreme
Court reaffirmed the automobile exception for a vehicle
impounded and searched at the police station following the
driver's arrest. 399 U.S. 42, 48, 90 S.Ct. 1975, 1979
(1970). The Court reiterated its mobility rationale, stating,
[A] search warrant [is] unnecessary where there is probable
cause to search an automobile stopped on the highway; the car
is movable, the occupants are alerted, and the car's
contents may never be found again if a warrant must be
Id. at 51, 90 S.Ct. at 1981. The Chambers
Court confronted the same argument Storm raises today: that a
vehicle should simply be seized until a magistrate authorizes
a warrant. Id. The Court observed,
Arguably, because of the preference for a magistrate's
judgment, only the immobilization of the car should be
permitted until a search warrant is obtained; arguably, only
the "lesser" intrusion is permissible until the
magistrate authorizes the "greater." But which is
the "greater" and which the "lesser"
intrusion is itself a debatable question and the answer may
depend on a variety of circumstances. For constitutional
purposes, we see no difference between on the one hand
seizing and holding a car before presenting the probable
cause issue to a magistrate and on the other hand carrying
out an immediate search without a warrant. Given probable
cause to search, either course is reasonable under the Fourth
Id. at 51-52, 90 S.Ct. at 1981. Concluding the
warrantless search was constitutional, the Court emphasized
that "there is little to choose in terms of practical
consequences between an immediate search without a warrant
and the car's immobilization until a warrant is
obtained." Id. at 52, 90 S.Ct. at 1981.
Supreme Court more recently reaffirmed that exigent
circumstances apart from the mobility of the vehicle are not
required to justify a warrantless search. In Maryland v.
Dyson, police received a tip from a reliable
confidential informant that a drug dealer would be returning
to Maryland in a specifically identified red rental car. 527
U.S. 465, 465, 119 S.Ct. 2013, 2013 (1999) (per curiam).
Officers stopped and searched the vehicle, finding
twenty-three grams of crack cocaine. Id. at 466, 119
S.Ct. at 2013. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed
the district court's denial of the defendant's motion
to suppress, finding that although there was probable cause
to conduct the search, there "was no exigency that
prevented or even made it significantly difficult for the
police to obtain a search warrant." Id. The
Supreme Court reversed, noting that "under our
established precedent, the 'automobile exception' has
no separate exigency requirement." Id. at 466,
119 S.Ct. at 2014; see also Pennsylvania v. Labron,
518 U.S. 938, 940, 116 S.Ct. 2485, 2487 (1996) (per curiam)
(using the automobile exception to justify a search based
only on probable cause with no additional exigency).
The lower expectation of privacy in automobiles.
United States Supreme Court has also justified the automobile
exception based on the reduced expectation of privacy
resulting from the "configuration, use and regulation of
automobiles." Arkansas v. Sanders, 442 U.S.
753, 761, 99 S.Ct. 2586, 2591 (1979), abrogated on other
grounds by Acevedo, 500 U.S. at 575, 111 S.Ct. at 1989.
Indeed, "[o]ne has a lesser expectation of privacy in a
motor vehicle because its function is transportation and it
seldom serves as one's residence or as the repository of
personal effects." Cardwell v. Lewis, 417 U.S.
583, 590, 94 S.Ct. 2464, 2469 (1974). Unlike a home or
office, "[a] car has little capacity for escaping public
scrutiny. It travels public thoroughfares where its occupants
and its contents are in plain view." Id.
[b]ecause of the extensive regulation of motor vehicles and
traffic, and also because of the frequency with which a
vehicle can become disabled or involved in an accident on
public highways, the extent of police-citizen contact
involving automobiles will be substantially greater than
police-citizen contact in a home or office.
Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433, 441, 93 S.Ct.
2523, 2528 (1973). As the Supreme Court explained,
In discharging their varied responsibilities for ensuring the
public safety, law enforcement officials are necessarily
brought into frequent contact with automobiles. Most of this
contact is distinctly noncriminal in nature. Automobiles,
unlike homes, are subjected to pervasive and continuing
governmental regulation and controls, including periodic
inspection and licensing requirements. As an everyday
occurrence, police stop and examine vehicles when license
plates or inspection stickers have expired, or if other
violations, such as exhaust fumes or excessive noise, are
noted, or if headlights or other safety equipment are not in
proper working order.
South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364, 367-68, 96
S.Ct. 3092, 3096 (1976) (citation omitted). "In the
interests of public safety . . . automobiles are frequently
taken into police custody." Id. at 368, 96
S.Ct. at 3097 (citation omitted). Police may impound vehicles
after accidents to permit "the uninterrupted flow of
traffic." Id. Not so with a home or other
state's interest in highway safety allows warrantless
checkpoint stops without individualized reasonable suspicion.
Mich. Dep't of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S.
444, 455, 110 S.Ct. 2481, 2488 (1990). By contrast, the
interest in safe neighborhoods cannot justify warrantless
searches of homes or businesses on a city block. Rather, a
search warrant is required to "effect an unconsented
administrative entry into and inspection of private dwellings
or commercial premises." Opperman, 428 U.S. at
367 n.2, 96 S.Ct. at 3096 n.2 (citing Camara v. Mun.
Ct., 387 U.S. 523, 87 S.Ct. 1727 (1967)).
Iowa's Adoption of the Automobile Exception Under Our
search and seizure provisions of the Fourth Amendment to the
United States Constitution and article I, section 8 of the Iowa
Constitution are virtually identical.
"We may construe the Iowa Constitution differently than
its federal counterpart, despite the provisions containing
nearly identical language and being structured generally with
the same scope, import, and purpose." State v.
Kooima, 833 N.W.2d 202, 206 (Iowa 2013). We adopted the
automobile exception under article I, section 8 of the Iowa
Constitution in State v. Olsen, 293 N.W.2d 216, 220
(Iowa 1980). Previously, we had required exigency separate
from the mobility of the vehicle to justify a warrantless
search, but we clarified that we did so because "[a]t
that time some doubt existed as to the scope of
Chambers." Id. at 219; see also
State v. Schlenker, 234 N.W.2d 142, 145 (Iowa 1975)
(requiring separate showing of exigency). Federal cases
subsequently clarified that "[t]he exigency requirement
. . . is sufficiently established by the inherent mobility of
the vehicle, the fact defendant was alerted, and the chance
that the car's contents might not be found again if a
warrant had to be then obtained." Olsen, 293
N.W.2d at 220. While acknowledging we were "still free
to apply" our previous holdings under an independent
approach to the Iowa Constitution, we were "persuaded
that the state constitution should be given the same
interpretation as the Federal." Id. at 219,
continued to follow the federal automobile exception for
decades. See, e.g., Allensworth, 748 N.W.2d
at 791 n.2 (rejecting an Iowa constitutional challenge to a
warrantless vehicle search); State v. Maddox, 670
N.W.2d 168, 171 (Iowa 2003) (applying the automobile
exception to uphold a warrantless search under the Federal
and Iowa Constitutions because of a vehicle's
"inherent mobility"); Holderness, 301
N.W.2d at 737 (rejecting federal and state constitutional
challenges to a warrantless vehicle search conducted at the
police station); see also State v. Vance, 790 N.W.2d
775, 791 (Iowa 2010) (Cady, J., dissenting) ("This
[automobile] exception has been firmly planted in our Iowa
jurisprudence for over twenty years."). We are not
persuaded to chart a different course today. "Stare
decisis alone dictates continued adherence to our precedent
absent a compelling reason to change the law." Book
v. Doublestar Dongfeng Tyre Co., 860 N.W.2d 576, 594
(Iowa 2015). Storm offers no compelling reason for overruling
our precedent on the automobile exception.
The Overwhelming Majority of State Courts Have Retained the
All but five states have retained the automobile
overwhelming majority of states continue to adhere to the
automobile exception. These include
courts that have construed their state constitutions to allow
greater protection than the Fourth Amendment. See
Commonwealth v. Gary, 91 A.3d 102, 126 (Pa. 2014)
("[A] generally enhanced concern for individual
privacy" does not "translate into a conferral of
increased privacy protection in every context in which it is
asserted under [the state constitution.]"); see also
Stout v. State, 898 S.W.2d 457, 460 (Ark. 1995)
("Of course, we could hold that the Arkansas
Constitution provides greater protection against unreasonable
searches than does the Constitution of the United States, but
we see no reason to do so."); People v. Smith,
447 N.E.2d 809, 813 (Ill. 1983) (noting "the Supreme
Court's interpretation of the automobile exception . . .
achieves a fair balance"); Commonwealth v.
Motta, 676 N.E.2d 795, 800 (Mass. 1997) ("Indeed,
while it is true that we have at times concluded that art. 14
provides more protection than the Fourth Amendment, we have
also followed the Supreme Court in the area of the automobile
exception."); State v. Lloyd, 312 P.3d 467, 474
(Nev. 2013) ("Although it is elementary that states may
provide greater protections than required by the federal
Constitution, it is at least as fundamental that such
decisions should be carefully reasoned and grounded in a
strong public policy." (quoting Thomas B. McAffee et
al., The Automobile Exception in Nevada: A Critique of
the Harnisch Cases, 8 Nev. L.J. 622, 648 (2008)
[hereinafter McAffee])). We should not simply
"reflexively find 'in favor of any new right or
interpretation asserted' under [the state search and
seizure provision]." Gary, 91 A.3d at 126
(quoting Commonwealth v. Russo, 934 A.2d 1199, 1210
State v. Rocha, the Nebraska Supreme Court this year
addressed the continuing validity of the automobile exception
under its state constitution. 890 N.W.2d 178');">890 N.W.2d 178, 207 (Neb.
2017). Police found marijuana on Eric Rocha after he
consented to a pat-down search during a roadway stop.
Id. at 188. The officer arrested Rocha and searched
his vehicle, finding methamphetamine, marijuana, two glass
vials, a glass pipe, and two digital scales near the center
console. Id. Rocha moved to suppress the evidence
discovered during the warrantless search of the automobile.
Id. at 190. Rocha argued additional exigent
circumstances, beyond the vehicle's inherent mobility,
were required for a warrantless search. Id. at 204.
He asserted that when a defendant was incapable of physically
moving the vehicle or destroying evidence, officers must
obtain a warrant. Id. at 205. The Nebraska Supreme
Court disagreed. Id. The Rocha court, after
surveying federal and state decisions, concluded,
In light of the overwhelming weight of authorities, we hold
that the requirement of ready mobility for the automobile
exception is met whenever a vehicle that is not located on
private property is capable or apparently capable of being
driven on the roads or highways. This inquiry does not focus
on the likelihood of the vehicle's being moved under the
particular circumstances and is generally satisfied by the
inherent mobility of all operational vehicles. It does not
depend on whether the defendant has access to the vehicle at
the time of the search or is in custody, nor on whether the
vehicle has been impounded. The purpose of the ready mobility
requirement is to distinguish vehicles on public property
from fixed, permanent structures, in which there is a greater
expectation of privacy.
Id. at 207. We reach the same conclusion.
Five other states that had abandoned the automobile
exception changed course and restored it.
learn from the experiences of the five states previously
requiring a separate showing of exigent circumstances that
restored the automobile exception. See Lloyd, 312
P.3d at 474; State v. Witt, 126 A.3d 850,
853 (N.J. 2015); State v. Zwicke, 767 N.W.2d 869');">767 N.W.2d 869,
873 (N.D. 2009); Gomez v. State, 168 P.3d 1139, 1145
(Okla. Crim. App. 2007); State v. Werner, 615 A.2d
1010, 1014 (R.I. 1992). The Nevada Supreme Court reversed
course after recognizing that its separate exigency
requirement had produced "confusion, while doing little
to enhance the protection of individual privacy
interests." Lloyd, 312 P.3d at 473 (quoting
McAffee, 8 Nev. L.J. at 624). By contrast, the automobile
exception was "rooted in good policy that balances
private interests with the collective good, even as it
provides law enforcement with clear and unequivocal
guidelines for doing their jobs." Id. at 474
(quoting McAffee, 8 Nev. L.J. at 648).
North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island returned to the
federal standard to restore clarity in the law.
Zwicke, 767 N.W.2d at 873 ("[S]ince this Court
decided Meadows, the United States Supreme Court has
held that . . . there need not exist exigent circumstances .
. . . [T]o the extent that Meadows can be read to
require something more than mobility for exigent
circumstances, we overrule that part of our decision in that
case."); Gomez, 168 P.3d at 1145 ("Because
we believe the United States Supreme Court's decisions .
. . rest on sound principles, we are persuaded they should
inform our construction of Article 2, § 30 . . . . To
the extent that [earlier cases] hold to the contrary, they
are overruled."); Werner, 615 A.2d at 1014
("In light of the Supreme Court's clarification of
the exigency issue, we conclude that it is preferable to
adopt one clear-cut rule to govern automobile searches and,
in turn, eliminate the conflicting interpretations of article
I, section 6, of the Rhode Island Constitution and the Fourth
Amendment to the United States Constitution.").
Jersey Supreme Court recently overruled its prior decisions
that applied a "pure exigent-circumstances requirement
to justify an automobile search." Witt, 126
A.3d at 853 (citing State v. Cooke, 751 A.2d 92, 97
(2000), abrogated by Witt, 126 A.3d at 853). The
court had used a multifactor approach. Id. at 864
(listing exigent circumstances as "the time of day; the
location of the stop; the nature of the neighborhood; the
unfolding of the events establishing probable cause; the
ratio of officers to suspects; the existence of confederates
who know the location of the car and could remove it or its
contents; whether the arrest was observed by passersby who
could tamper with the car or its contents; whether it would
be safe to leave the car unguarded and, if not, whether the
delay that would be caused by obtaining a warrant would place
the officers or the evidence at risk" (quoting State
v. Pena-Flores, 965 A.2d 114, 128 (N.J. 2009),
abrogated by Witt, 126 A.3d at 853)). The New Jersey
Supreme Court had concluded that telephonic warrants would
provide an "efficient and speedy" procedure
"that will be available to [officers] on the scene; that
will obviate the need for difficult exigency assessments; and
that will guarantee our citizens the protections that the
warrant requirement affords." Id. (quoting
Pena-Flores, 965 A.3d at 132). Experience proved
Experience and common sense persuade us that the
exigent-circumstances test in Pena-Flores does not
provide greater liberty or security to New Jersey's
citizens and has placed on law enforcement unrealistic and
impracticable burdens. First, the multi-factor exigency
formula is too complex and difficult for a reasonable police
officer to apply to fast-moving and evolving events that
require prompt action. Thus, we cannot expect predictable and
uniform police or judicial decision-making. Second, the
securing of telephonic warrants results in unacceptably
prolonged roadway stops. During the warrant-application
process, the occupants of a vehicle and police officers are
stranded on the side of busy highways for an extended period,
increasing the risk of serious injury and even death by
passing traffic. If the car is impounded, then the
occupants' detention will be extended for an even longer
period as a warrant is procured.
Id. at 853.
the New Jersey court noted in 2015 that the average time to
issue a telephonic warrant was fifty-nine minutes.
Id. at 869. Some troopers experienced delays of two
hours. Id. The Witt
court recognized, "The hope that technology would reduce
the perils of roadside stops has not been realized."
Id. Prolonged encounters along the shoulder of the
highway posed "unacceptable risk of serious bodily
injury and death." Id. "News reports
reveal the carnage caused by cars and trucks crashing into
police officers and motorists positioned on the shoulders of
our highways." Id. We decline to impose those
risks on Iowa motorists and peace officers.
Jersey Supreme Court noted another downside to requiring
warrants for roadside searches of automobiles-the pressure
put on ...