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Procedural Error Stays Ruling in Warrantless Search Appeal

Prosecutors seeking to pin weapons offenses on a Chicago man will have to content themselves with convictions for motor vehicle violations after judges in the 1st District Appellate Court ruled that cops failed to follow procedure when searching a car where a gun was found. Cops never asked Terrence Davis for proof of insurance after they pulled him over for driving on a revoked license, claiming at trial that the lack of an insurance card was enough to permit an inventory search without obtaining a warrant. Davis filed a motion to suppress the gun as evidence that was granted in Cook County Circuit Court.

The state cited the Illinois Vehicle Code, which provides for immediate impoundment when a driver can’t produce a valid card, in filing a certificate of impairment for the lower court decision. However, a review of the trial court’s record showed that the arresting officers that possessed information about his revoked license didn’t inquire as to whether Davis was insured. In upholding the motion to suppress, judges said cops lacked sufficient evidence to impound the vehicle.