One of the defendant’s three drug-related convictions – each related to possession of a firearm – must be vacated because the warrantless vehicle search wasn’t justified by the inventory-search exception.
Whether through introduction of written police department rules and regulations or through police officer testimony, there must be “sufficient evidence” that the searching officer’s discretion was limited by standardized criteria governing the conduct and scope of inventory searches. Here, the government provided neither a written departmental policy governing inventory searches nor testimony to fill that gap. Thus, the district court erred in not suppressing the firearms recovered from that search.
Affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.