United States v. Cohen (July 2022)

The Federal Docket

July 25, 2022

Devon Cohen was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and appealed his conviction based on the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained from his traffic stop. Cohen had been pulled over in a rental car and arrested for resisting, after which law enforcement found firearms in the vehicle during an inventory search.

The district court denied his motion to suppress after holding that Cohen lacked standing to challenge his traffic stop given his suspended license and the fact that he was not the authorized driver on the rental vehicle agreement.

On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit held that Cohen did in fact have Fourth Amendment standing to challenge the traffic stop and inventory search despite his suspended license and lack of authorization on the rental agreement. The Court cited precedent establishing that either a suspended license or lack of authorization, standing alone, do not deprive a driver of standing. Here, Cohen had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Nevertheless, the Court affirmed the district court denial of his motion on the merits, holding the inventory search was lawful and rejecting Cohen’s arguments that it was unlawful based on apparent violations of the police department’s impounding policies.

Appeal from the Middle District of Florida
Opinion by Wilson, joined by Branch and Tjoflat

Click here to read the opinion.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

Scroll to Top