Commonwealth v. Alexander

Commonwealth v. Alexander is a significant decision that will impact the litigation of motions to suppress for the coming years. In Alexander, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overruled Commonwealth v. Gary, 91 A.3d 102 (Pa. 2014), holding that Article¬† I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution affords greater protection to Pennsylvania’s citizens than the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Court thereby reaffirmed the holding that the Pennsylvania Constitution requires both a showing of probable cause and exigent circumstances to justify a warrantless search of an automobile. Thus, the smell of marijuana, without more, is no longer sufficient to justify a warrantless search of a vehicle.

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