Vanhollebeke drove his truck the wrong way down a one-way
street. Not surprisingly, an officer stopped him.
Vanhollebeke ignored the officer's command to stay in the
vehicle, got out and locked the vehicle behind him, left a
punched out ignition and apparent drug paraphernalia behind
in plain view of the police, and had no key. The police asked
Vanhollebeke for consent to search the vehicle. Vanhollebeke
refused. A police officer then contacted the truck's
owner, received the absent owner's consent and a key to
search, and then returned to search the vehicle.
Vanhollebeke was charged with unlawful possession of a
firearm found in the truck, and he challenged the legality of
the vehicle search. The officer lacked a warrant, and the
State relies instead on an exception to the warrant
requirement: the owner's consent.
that the present driver's refusal to consent to the
search of his or her vehicle must generally be respected. But
where, as here, circumstances like a punched out ignition and
a driver with no key raise a significant question about
whether the driver had any legitimate claim to the vehicle at
all, the police may contact the absent owner and then get
that owner's consent to search instead.
therefore affirm the Court of Appeals.
Aaron Garza of the Othello Police Department observed
Vanhollebeke's truck facing the wrong way on a one-way
street at an intersection. Clerk's Papers (CP) at 34
(Finding of Fact (FF) 1.1); RP (Jan. 20, 2015) at 11-12; (RP)
(May 20, 2015) at 310-11. Garza pulled Vanhollebeke over. RP
(Jan. 20, 2015) at 12; RP (May 20, 2015) at 311. Ignoring
repeated commands to remain in his vehicle, Vanhollebeke
finally exited from the truck and stated that he had locked
himself out and did not have a key. CP at 34 (FF 1.2).
Finding this behavior unusual, Garza called for backup. RP
(Jan. 20, 2015) at 13-15; RP (May 20, 2015) at 314-16. After
the other officers arrived, dispatch advised that
Vanhollebeke had a suspended license. CP at 35 (FF 1.4); RP
(Jan. 20, 2015) at 18. Garza began writing a citation for driving
while license suspended. RP (Jan. 20, 2015) at 22.
the other officers, Deputy Darryl Barnes, saw a glass pipe
containing a white crystal substance on the truck's
dashboard and noticed that the ignition had been punched out.
CP at 35 (FF 1.5); RP (Jan. 20, 2015) at 103, 106. The
officers suspected that the truck might be stolen or contain
controlled substances and asked Vanhollebeke for permission
to search it. RP (Jan. 20, 2015) at 23, 28. Vanhollebeke
refused. Id. at 28.
then tried to reach the truck's registered owner, Bill
Casteel. CP at 35 (FF 1.6); RP (Jan. 20, 2015) at 28-29.
Garza couldn't reach Casteel by phone, so Barnes drove to
Casteel's home, about 20 miles away, instead. CP at 35
(FF 1.6); RP (Jan 20, 2015) at 30. Garza's police report
states that Barnes went to Casteel's home seeking
permission to search the vehicle; it does not say anything
about ascertaining whether the vehicle was stolen. CP at
20-21; RP (Jan. 20, 2015) at 58- 59. Barnes testified that
when he spoke with Casteel:
I told him that we had the gentleman there on a traffic stop
and did he know where his truck was and did he know who had
his truck and that what I found - - what I saw inside the
truck and did he have a problem with me searching it.
RP (Jan. 20, 2015) at 109. Casteel said that Vanhollebeke had
permission to use the truck, but he also expressed concern
about the suspected drug paraphernalia. Id. at
109-110. He consented to a search of the truck and gave
Barnes a key. Id; CP at 35 (FF 1.7). According to
[F]rom what I can remember, [Casteel] was in disgust about
his truck being stopped by law enforcement and did say that
the gentleman had permission to use the truck, was concerned
that I found drug - - that I saw what appeared to be drug
paraphernalia in the truck.
And I asked, "Hey, can we search your truck? If not, the
city would impound it and they would search it, but
they're willing to just search it on scene. Are you okay
He's like, "Sure, " gave me the key.
RP (Jan. 20, 2015) at 109-110. Casteel was sick and declined
Barnes's invitation to accompany him back to the scene.
Id. at 110.
Barnes arrived back at the truck, he gave Garza the key and
told him that Casteel had consented to the search. RP (Jan.
20, 2015) at 32. The officers then searched the passenger
compartment and discovered a gun under the driver's seat.
Id. at 33. The pipe on the dashboard tested positive
for methamphetamine, and officers arrested Vanhollebeke for
possession of a controlled substance. Id. at 39.
Dispatch advised that Vanhollebeke was a convicted felon.
Id. at 77-78.
State charged Vanhollebeke with one count of first degree
unlawful possession of a firearm. CP at 3-4; RP (May 19,
2015) at 230-31. Vanhollebeke moved to suppress the fruits of
the search, arguing that the warrantless search was
unconstitutional. CP at 5-12; RP (Jan. 20, 2015) at 150-51.
The trial court denied the motion, CP at 37, reasoning that
"there's a reduced expectation of privacy in a
borrowed vehicle." RP (Jan. 20, 2015) at 153. The trial
court made no explicit findings of fact regarding the
officers' motivation for contacting
Casteel.Vanhollebeke was found guilty, sentenced to
34 months confinement, and assessed fees of $1, 380. RP (May
21, 2015) at 482-85; CP at 141-46.
appealed on several grounds, and the Court of Appeals
affirmed the conviction. State v. Vanhollebeke, 197
Wn.App. 66, 68, 387 P.3d 1103 (2016), review
granted, 188 Wn.2d 1001, 393 P.3d 360 (2017). The only
issue before this court is the constitutionality of the
Court of Appeals began by acknowledging that this case
presented a question left open by State v. Cantrell,
124 Wn.2d 183, 875 P.2d 1208 (1994): whether the driver of a
borrowed car can, by expressly objecting to a search,
override the consent of another person with "common
authority" over the vehicle.Vanhollebeke, 197
Wn.App. at 72-73. It then considered a Virginia case holding
that people have limited expectations of privacy in borrowed
vehicles because the owner can reclaim possession at any
time. Id. at 73-74 (citing and quoting Hardy v.
Virginia, 17 Va.App. 677, 440 S.E.2d 434 (1994)). The
Court of Appeals adopted that rationale and held that
"as bailee, Mr. Vanhollebeke had the actual right to
exclude all others from the truck except for Mr. Casteel[,
and] [f]or this reason, Mr. Vanhollebeke did not have a
reasonable expectation of privacy if Mr. Casteel wanted to
search his own truck or allow another person to do so."
Vanhollebeke, 197 Wn.App. at 74. The Court of
Appeals also rejected Vanhollebeke's argument that the
Fourth Amendment rule announced in Georgia v.
Randolph, 547 U.S. 103, 126 S.Ct. 1515, 164 L.Ed.2d 208
(2006)-that police may not search a home where one present
occupant objects and another present occupant consents-should
apply in this vehicle context. Vanhollebeke, 197
Wn.App. at 74-76; U.S. CONST, amend. IV. It reasoned that
Randolph was limited to the situation in which two
people have equal authority over a
residence (a constitutionally privileged site).
the Court of Appeals in this case nor the Cantrell
court analyzed the issue under Washington Constitution
article I, section 7. Cantrell, 124 Wn.2d at 190
n.19; Vanhollebeke, 197 Wn.App. at 75 n.4. Both
courts held that the briefing was inadequate to present the
question of an independent state constitutional analysis.
Cantrell, 124 Wn.2d at 190 n.19;
Vanhollebeke, 197 Wn.App. at 75 n.4. Vanhollebeke
provided an independent state constitutional argument under
State v. Gunwall for the first time in his supplemental
brief to this court. Suppl. Br. of Pet'r at 17-26. The
State submitted supplemental briefing in response.
Standard of Review
review claims that constitutional rights were violated de
novo. State v. Iniguez,167 Wn.2d ...