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Supreme Court upholds search following citizen’s arrest

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld law enforcement’s authority to perform a warrantless search following a citizen’s arrest. The ruling involves a 2015 case in which a person was accused of shoplifting and was detained at a retail store by on-site security until police arrived. The police officer who responded searched the woman’s purse without a warrant and found a glass pipe which tested positive for methamphetamine. The woman challenged the authority of the police officer to conduct a search of her purse following a citizen’s arrest.

The court held that Lee was validly placed under citizen’s arrest by the retail store security officer. And, that because a citizen’s arrest was made, law enforcement had the authority to search without a warrant.

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