Criminal Law – Scope of Lawful Search and Seizure Without Warrant When Incident to Arrest

Acting on information that defendants were engaged in the “numbers racket” in violation of the Michigan gambling laws, police officers picked up three of the defendants in an automobile, took them to the police station, and proceeded to the home of their accomplice, Abbey Clay. On being admitted to the residence, the officers placed Abbey Clay under arrest and, despite her objections, promptly searched the L-shaped room in which they were standing when the arrest was made. Although the officers did not have a search warrant, they looked through defendant’s pocketbook, magazine rack, and a cardboard box which was in full view on the dining room table. The box revealed a number of duplicate policy slips with defendant’s code number thereon which were introduced as evidence at the trial. The defendant contended that because the officers had sufficient time to acquire a search warrant and failed to do so, they had violated the “unreasonable search and seizure” clauses of the federal and state constitutions. Disposing of this argument, the lower court found that the evidence was admissible. On appeal, held, affirmed. Evidence acquired in a private home by search and seizure without a warrant could be admitted when obtained in conjunction with a valid arrest. People v. Taylor, (Mich. 1954) 67 N. W. (2d) 698.