Law enforcement must provide a valid reason to hold people's vehicles and cannot automatically impound them for a set period.
The unanimous ruling on Wednesday by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a California law that requires police to hold impounded vehicles for 30 days.
Judge Alex Kozinski, writing for the panel, said the law violates the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable seizures. He said police cannot continue to hold a seized vehicle without some new justification.
Sidenote, this has a tangental issue fixed, sueing the city or state because you are a citizen has been tossed out, until now as the 9th cc has ruled unanimously against the 1909 law written so only property owners could sue.
The 1909 law authorized taxpayer suits only by a state or local resident who “is assessed for and is liable to pay ... a tax therein”. This all stems from the lawsuit against the police abuse by impounding cars being brought by an apartment renter, and not a home owner. Yeah, the police union and tow truck companies tried to get this lawsuit tossed out based on the technicality that a home owner hadn't filed the suit, based on a snippet from a law written 108 years ago.
fwiw, I've never had a car impounded, never been arrested, etc. But I've been pissed about cops abusing their power and seizing peoples cars for a long time. I posted about http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2015/01/to-no-ones-surprise-la-sheriff-dept-is.html a corrupt city tyranny where the police specifically picked out illegal aliens cars, (and I'm completely against illegal aliens in my, or any other country, as they are intruders, and the USA has several legal ways to get in, visit, tourist, work in, or become a citizen of.... violating that is an immediate get the hell out imo)
impounded the cars of the illegals, and then sold the cars to raise money. The tow truck company was owned by the police chief's brother.
Bell California made 3/4s a million dollars a year in impound release fees. http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-impounded-cars-boost-bells-coffers-09052010-m-story.html'
"It got really bad in 2008, 2009," Jimenez said. "They weren't hiding it. They were directly asking for these impounds. Some officers were being called in and asked to impound cars. They would keep these stat sheets on us and it would say how many arrests, how many cites we've written throughout the week, month and year.
"In these stat sheets the number they were really looking for was impounds.... That's not the way police work should be measured," he said.
Officer Gilbert Jara, president of the Bell Police Officers Assn., said officers were called in and told to increase impounds.other places have created tow zones just to tow and impound cars, yes, painted one in, then towed the vehicle http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2013/02/what-will-corrupt-city-government-do-to.html
and in 2015 the shit hit the fan in national publicity when Detroit lost its damn mind http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2014/10/news-flash-and-judicial-newswatch-holy.html
LAPD Chief Beck's police officer daughter told him about impounding a car in the middle of the night, leaving a pregnant woman and her family to walk through the darkened streets of the Rampart division.
“So that helped me realize we’re doing this wrong,” said Beck. “We have a system set up here that is penalizing people we should be protecting, and that’s when we started to change the impound procedures.”
So, he implemented a decree that prohibited 30-day impounds of vehicles in some cases, arguing that undocumented immigrants unable to get driver’s licenses were unfairly burdened.
Back in 2014 U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson ruled that police violated the constitutional rights of an unlicensed driver by impounding his truck for 30 days without a warrant.
“For many people, the use of a car is essential for such necessary activities as getting to work and purchasing food; the loss of a vehicle for 30 days can cause significant disruption in a person’s life,” Henderson wrote.
The city argued that its 30-day impound policy was legal because it was allowed by state law. The judge ruled that being allowable by state law does not mean it does not violate the Fourth Amendment right around unreasonable search and seizure.