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This Article offers a critique of Nevada's Harnisch cases and calls for the Nevada Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling. The authors begin by examining the historical development of the automobile exception, beginning with Carroll v. United States. There the Supreme Court reasoned that both probable cause and the exigency of the mobility of automobiles justified a search without a warrant. But almost seventy-five years later, in Maryland v. Dyson, the Court clarified its conclusion that the automobile exception has no separate exigency requirement. In turn, the authors will then examine Nevada's application of the automobile exception prior to 1998's Harnisch II, and the unique circumstances under which the Nevada Supreme Court contradicted both the Supreme Court and its own prior decisions in choosing to diverge from federal precedent on vehicle searches. Lastly, the authors offer specific reasons to justify the reconsideration of the court's holding in Harnisch II and a return to the carefully developed and crafted automobile exception as it currently exists in the federal system.

Publication Citation

8 Nev. L.J. 622 (2008).