A search conducted without prior approval by a judge (in the form of a warrant) is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with the exception of a few situations. Such exceptions arise quite frequently in day-to-day police investigations. Arizona v. Gant (2009) 556 U.S. 332, 338.
In the case of Travis Pope, arrested in El Dorado National Forest in Northern California, the “Search Incident To An Arrest” exception to the warrant requirement was tested on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (U.S. v. Travis Pope 2012 DJDAR 9839). In a clever opinion worth reading for the precedent it seems to set, the warrantless search by police was upheld as proper.
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