State v. Green, No. 2D05-849.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtAltenbernd
Citation943 So.2d 1004
PartiesSTATE of Florida, Appellant, v. LeRoy GREEN, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 2D05-849.
Decision Date13 December 2006
943 So.2d 1004
STATE of Florida, Appellant,
v.
LeRoy GREEN, Appellee.
No. 2D05-849.
District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District.
December 13, 2006.

Page 1005

Charles J. Crist, Jr., Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Helene S. Parnes, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, for Appellant.

James Marion Moorman, Public Defender, and Cynthia J. Dodge, Assistant Public Defender, Bartow, for Appellee.

ALTENBERND, Judge.


The State appeals an order granting LeRoy Green's motion to suppress cocaine, cannabis, and drug paraphernalia. Police officers seized this contraband from Mr. Green's locked car, using keys they obtained from Mr. Green when they arrested him for gambling. Because the "automobile exception" permitted the warrantless search of the vehicle once officers saw the contraband inside, we reverse the order granting the motion to suppress and remand for further proceedings.

On July 17, 2004, police officers patrolling an apartment complex found Mr. Green and a group of people engaged in gambling. Mr. Green was arrested for this offense and a search incident to his arrest revealed keys to a Ford Taurus. One officer began to look for the car that the keys would open and ultimately found Mr. Green's gold Ford Taurus. The officer shined a flashlight into the windows of the Taurus and observed a razor blade with white residue on it, lying on the car's center console. Believing the residue to be cocaine, the officer used Mr. Green's keys to open the door of the car. The officer subsequently seized cocaine, cannabis, and drug paraphernalia from the vehicle.

Mr. Green was charged with gambling, possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver, possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia, and obstructing or opposing an officer without violence. He filed a motion to suppress the cocaine, cannabis, and paraphernalia seized from his vehicle, arguing the officers were required to obtain a warrant prior to searching his vehicle and seizing the contraband inside. The circuit court granted this motion.

Mr. Green did not challenge his arrest or the manner in which the officer obtained the keys to his car. He argued instead that the officer could not enter the vehicle to seize the contraband until after the officer obtained a warrant. We conclude, however, that upon viewing the razor blade and cocaine on the center console, the officer was authorized to enter the car and seize the contraband.

Initially, we note that the shining of the flashlight into the vehicle was not a search and thus did not implicate Fourth Amendment protections. See Roberts v. State, 566 So.2d 848 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990); State v. Billingsly, 542 So.2d 444 (Fla. 5th DCA 1989) (citing Texas v. Brown, 460 U.S. 730, 103 S.Ct. 1535, 75 L.Ed.2d 502 (1983)). Once the officer illuminated the inside of the vehicle and saw the razor blade with a white powdery residue, the officer had probable cause to believe the car contained cocaine. Billingsly, 542 So.2d at 445-46 (holding that observation of mirror, white powdery substance, and razor blade in vehicle provided probable cause to arrest owner for possession of contraband).

Pursuant to Pennsylvania v. Labron, 518 U.S. 938, 940, 116 S.Ct. 2485, 135 L.Ed.2d 1031 (1996), if a car is readily mobile and probable cause exists to believe it contains contraband, the Fourth Amendment

Page 1006

permits police to search the vehicle without more. Id. (citing Cal. v....

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9 practice notes
  • State v. Pettis, Case No. 2D17-2973
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • March 6, 2019
    ...a crime. The warrantless search of the car was thus authorized by the automobile exception." (footnote omitted) (citing State v. Green, 943 So.2d 1004, 1006-07 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) ; State v. Gardner, 72 So.3d 218, 220-21 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011) ; State v. Fischer, 987 So.2d 708, 711-13 (Fla. 5th ......
  • State v. Fischer, No. 5D07-1096.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • June 13, 2008
    ...have probable cause, they may enter a vehicle on a public road without a warrant and seize the suspected item. See State v. Green, 943 So.2d 1004, 1006-07 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) ("Once probable cause is established, the officers may search the vehicle. The warrantless search of Mr. Green's car ......
  • Nava v. Sec'y, CASE NO. 6:10-cv-00100-22GJK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • June 10, 2011
    ...inventory search following standardized procedures. See Jaimes v. State, 862 So.2d 833, 836 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003); see also State v. Green, 943 So.2d 1004, 1006 n. 1 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) (noting that exigent circumstances are not required in order to apply the "automobile exception" to the warra......
  • State v. Clark, No. 2D06-3231.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • February 22, 2008
    ...inventory search following standardized procedures. See Jaimes v. State, 862 So.2d 833, 836 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003); see also State v. Green, 943 So.2d 1004, 1006 n. 1 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) (noting that exigent circumstances are not required in order to apply the "automobile exception" to the warra......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • State v. Pettis, Case No. 2D17-2973
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • March 6, 2019
    ...a crime. The warrantless search of the car was thus authorized by the automobile exception." (footnote omitted) (citing State v. Green, 943 So.2d 1004, 1006-07 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) ; State v. Gardner, 72 So.3d 218, 220-21 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011) ; State v. Fischer, 987 So.2d 708, 711-13 (Fla. 5th ......
  • State v. Fischer, No. 5D07-1096.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • June 13, 2008
    ...have probable cause, they may enter a vehicle on a public road without a warrant and seize the suspected item. See State v. Green, 943 So.2d 1004, 1006-07 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) ("Once probable cause is established, the officers may search the vehicle. The warrantless search of Mr. Green's car ......
  • Nava v. Sec'y, CASE NO. 6:10-cv-00100-22GJK
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • June 10, 2011
    ...inventory search following standardized procedures. See Jaimes v. State, 862 So.2d 833, 836 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003); see also State v. Green, 943 So.2d 1004, 1006 n. 1 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) (noting that exigent circumstances are not required in order to apply the "automobile exception" to the warra......
  • State v. Clark, No. 2D06-3231.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • February 22, 2008
    ...inventory search following standardized procedures. See Jaimes v. State, 862 So.2d 833, 836 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003); see also State v. Green, 943 So.2d 1004, 1006 n. 1 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) (noting that exigent circumstances are not required in order to apply the "automobile exception" to the warra......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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