Circuit Holds No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Rental Car for Unauthorized and Unlicensed Driver
In United States v. Lyle, 15-058-cr (April 1, 2019) (Raggi, Chin, Lohier), the Second Circuit, following a remand from the United States Supreme Court, once again held that the search of a rental car that James Lyle was driving (1) without a valid driver’s license, (2) without the permission of the rental car company, but (3) with the permission of the authorized driver, was lawful. We covered the panel’s original opinion in United States v. Lyle, 856 F.3d 191 (2d Cir. 2017) in a June 1, 2017 post. That post lays out the rather interesting facts and procedural history of this methamphetamine distribution and conspiracy case, and discusses each of the issues originally raised on appeal by Lyles and his co-defendant, Michael Van Praagh, including the panel’s original treatment of the rental car search issue. Subsequent to that blog post, the United States Supreme Court granted Lyle’s petition for a writ of certiorari challenging the search of the rental car and remanded to the Second Circuit for further consideration in light of its unanimous decision in Byrd v. United States, 584 U.S. ---, 138 S. Ct. 1518 (2018). Byrd included grand rhetoric about the Fourth Amendment, with Justice Kennedy writing that “[f]ew protections are as essential to individual liberty as the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.” 138 S. Ct. at 1526. On remand, however, the Circuit once again upheld the search of the rental car.