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The Supreme Court Chamber in the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul. (Staff photo: Kevin Featherly)

Supreme Court Digest: May 3, 2023



Warrantless Searches

Automobile Exception

Defendant was a passenger in a car searched by law enforcement without a warrant. As she left the car, defendant removed her purse from the car, but an officer directed her to leave the purse on the car. The officer searched defendant’s purse and discovered a controlled substance in the purse.

On appeal from her conviction of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance, defendant argued that the automobile exception did not authorize the warrantless search of her purse. Defendant did not contest that there was probable cause to believe there were controlled substances in the car and that controlled substances would fit in her purse. Instead, she argued that the search was not authorized under the automobile exception because the purse was an extension of her person, not a container within the car. Both the District Court and the Court of Appeals disagreed with defendant’s argument.

The Court of Appeals held that the warrantless search of defendant’s purse was lawful under the automobile exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement because there was probable cause to believe that the car contained a controlled substance, and the purse was a container within that car. Affirmed.

A21-0776 State v. Barrow (Court of Appeals)





Attorney Discipline


John Timothy Hernandez was disbarred.

A21-0327 In re Hernandez



Attorney Discipline


Jennifer L. Casanova-Roers was suspended from the practice of law for a minimum of 60 days.

A22-1813 In re Casanova-Roers



Attorney Discipline


Richard W. Curott was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law with no right to petition for reinstatement for 90 days.

A23-0310 In re Curott

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