Searching clothing during arrest booking and seizing contraband


In 2001, a Mississippi State Trooper was on patrol traveling south on Highway 45 when his radar registered a vehicle traveling north at a rate of 83 miles per hour in a 55 miles per hour zone. The trooper pursued the vehicle, which did not stop despite the flashing blue lights. After several miles, the vehicle stopped and the trooper asked the driver, David L. Jackson, to get out of the vehicle.

The trooper patted the driver down at the scene and then transported him to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Department. Jackson was arrested for not wearing a seat belt, failure to yield to a trooper, speeding, and reckless driving. During an inventory search as part of the routine booking procedures at the sheriff’s department, the trooper found a bag in Jackson’s shoes containing substances that appeared to be cocaine (25.31 grams) and marijuana.

As a result, Jackson was then additionally charged with possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. After receiving his Miranda warnings and signing a Miranda waiver of rights form, Jackson confessed that he possessed the cocaine and intended to smoke it at a party.

Jackson was convicted of possession of cocaine and sentenced to 15 years. On appeal, he argued the search of his person was unlawful. MCOA affirmed.


The trooper searched Jackson twice, once after exiting his vehicle and once at the sheriff’s department during booking. As to the first search, Jackson claims that the pat down was illegal because he was stopped for a misdemeanor offense while no emergency circumstances existed.

Some of the more established exceptions to the fourth amendment recognized by the Mississippi Supreme Court include search incident to arrest, search of a vehicle, plain view, stop and frisk, hot pursuit and emergency search, and administrative search. Therefore, according to prevailing authority, the trooper’s pat down search was legal because the search was incident to the arrest.

As to the search at the sheriff’s department, the MSC decision in Rankin v. State, 636 So.2d 652 (Miss. 1994), governs. In Rankin, the defendant was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. When he arrived at the jail, officers searched the defendant’s jacket and found cocaine. The defendant was then placed under arrest for possession of cocaine.

On appeal, the defendant argued that his clothing was illegally searched. The MSC set forth two grounds in holding that the strictures of the Fourth Amendment were met by the search. First, the court noted that because the personal effects of one under lawful custodial arrest were subject to search at the time and place of arrest, they were likewise subject to a warrantless search at the place of detention. Second, the court stated that the search was also valid as part of a routine inventory procedure at the place of detention, incident to processing the arrestee.

Accordingly, we find that the circumstances in Rankin are similar to the present case. Jackson was under lawful custodial arrest and the search took place pursuant to a routine inventory search at the place of detention, incident to his processing. Therefore, we find Jackson’s contention that the searches were illegal to be without merit.

Jackson also appears to argue that his constitutional rights were violated because he was searched twice. However, he cites no authority to support this contention. This court will not review any issues where the party has failed to cite relevant authority.