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1 Timothy Watson  Wed, Feb 26, 2014 2:12:08pm

Not a lawyer and didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I’m pretty sure that this ruling is entirely consistent with prior decisions.

A lone roommate (Roommate #1 in this example) can give consent for police to search the common area of an apartment or home. If the evidence was found in the other roommate’s (Roommate #2) bedroom or a private area secured by a lock which Roommate #2 only had a key to, there would be problems for the police.

2 Timothy Watson  Wed, Feb 26, 2014 2:18:04pm

In addition, here’s what a piece at SCOTUSblog had to say:

(1) After Fernandez, it’s pretty easy for the police to get around Georgia v. Randolph. Officers can just ask for consent when the target is not present. But this isn’t a major change in the law. The majority opinion in Fernandez largely reaffirms the narrow interpretation of Randolph adopted by lower courts in the years following Randolph.

In addition, here’s an opinion piece where the author calls the decision “narrow[]”.

3 BishopX  Wed, Feb 26, 2014 5:07:45pm

re: #1 Timothy Watson

The issue here is that the police are allowed to physically remove room mate #2, return and then ask room mate #1 for permission after room mate #2 already refused.

Particulalar to this case, the police returned and then threatened to take the child of room mate #1 unless she consented to a search…

It may be narrow but it’s pretty meaningful.

4 Timothy Watson  Wed, Feb 26, 2014 5:59:31pm

re: #3 BishopX

He wasn’t removed, he was placed under arrest for domestic assault. Previous case law said that he was okay to remove someone from a crime scene who refused consent if it was “objectionably reasonable”. Just like pretextual traffic stops, the Supreme Court doesn’t care about subjective arguments.

Further, if a husband beats the crap out of wife, gets arrested, tells the police that they can’t search for a baseball bat or another weapon that was used, the wife can’t give consent to search the house?

As for the consent of the roommate, the facts were in dispute:

Both petitioner and the dissent suggest that Rojas’ consent was coerced. Post, at 9, n. 5 (opinion of Ginsburg, J.). But the trial court found otherwise, App. 152, and the correctness of that finding is not before us. In suggesting that Rojas’ consent was coerced, the dissent recites portions of Rojas’ testimony from the suppression hearing that the trial judge appears to have rejected. Ibid. Similarly, the jury plainly did not find Rojas to be credible. At trial, she testified for the defense and told the jury, among other things, that the wounds observed by the officers who came to her door were not inflicted by petitioner but by a woman looking for petitioner during a fight. 208 Cal. App. 4th 100, 109-110, 145 Cal. Rptr. 3d 51, 56 (2012). The jury obviously did not believe this testimony because it found petitioner guilty of inflicting corporal injury on her. (Fernandez v. California (slip opinion), fn. 2)

FYI: Neither the trial court nor the California Court of Appeals agreed with the petitioner’s arguments, and the California Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

5 Dark_Falcon  Wed, Feb 26, 2014 7:32:37pm

re: #4 Timothy Watson

He wasn’t removed, he was placed under arrest for domestic assault. Previous case law said that he was okay to remove someone from a crime scene who refused consent if it was “objectionably reasonable”. Just like pretextual traffic stops, the Supreme Court doesn’t care about subjective arguments.

Further, if a husband beats the crap out of wife, gets arrested, tells the police that they can’t search for a baseball bat or another weapon that was used, the wife can’t give consent to search the house?

As for the consent of the roommate, the facts were in dispute:

FYI: Neither the trial court nor the California Court of Appeals agreed with the petitioner’s arguments, and the California Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

THIS. GGT, you shouldn’t be unhappy about this one. The Supreme Court essentially ruled in defense of battered women and against rape culture. Isn’t that a good thing?

6 FemNaziBitch  Thu, Feb 27, 2014 5:55:54am

It is my understanding that if the police believe a person is in imminent danger they do not need a warrant. This, IIRC, was a decided in a previous SCOTUS case.

Further, if a husband beats the crap out of wife, gets arrested, tells the police that they can’t search for a baseball bat or another weapon that was used, the wife can’t give consent to search the house?

This makes no sense to me. If a person is under arrest, the police would have time to get a warrant to search the hope with no worries of the person either fleeing or causing more harm to the DV victim.

7 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Feb 27, 2014 6:42:09am

re: #6 FemNaziBitch

It is my understanding that if the police believe a person is in imminent danger they do not need a warrant. This, IIRC, was a decided in a previous SCOTUS case.

This makes no sense to me. If a person is under arrest, the police would have time to get a warrant to search the hope with no worries of the person either fleeing or causing more harm to the DV victim.

Getting a warrant can takes hours and they might have been afraid word would get out and either the wife would recant before the warrant was issued or that someone would sneak into the house and dispose of the evidence. The LAPD doesn’t have to manpower to keep every angle of a normal house under observation for very long except for major crimes, so they may have felt it was “move it or lose it time”.

8 FemNaziBitch  Thu, Feb 27, 2014 5:22:42pm

re: #7 Dark_Falcon

Getting a warrant can takes hours and they might have been afraid word would get out and either the wife would recant before the warrant was issued or that someone would sneak into the house and dispose of the evidence. The LAPD doesn’t have to manpower to keep every angle of a normal house under observation for very long except for major crimes, so they may have felt it was “move it or lose it time”.

These are a lot of theoretical situations which are not mentioned in the original article.

9 Dark_Falcon  Fri, Feb 28, 2014 5:46:54am

re: #8 FemNaziBitch

These are a lot of theoretical situations which are not mentioned in the original article.

True, but the basic point remains: The police had valid consent from someone living in the house to search and therefore performed the search lawfully. Most of the justices currently on the Supreme Court favored a narrowing of the Randolph to allow for practicality. As SCOTUSblog points out, most times it isn’t an issue:

Conclusion

In the end, the practicalities of today’s ruling seem limited, because Justice Ginsburg is correct in noting that in most cases we care about, police will have either an exigency that permits immediate warrantless entry or probable cause that allows them to quickly obtain a warrant. Just last Term, in Missouri v. McNeely, the Chief Justice noted that “e-warrants” can be obtained in fifteen minutes or less. Thus, today’s decision is unlikely to make large waves in the deep ocean of Fourth Amendment caselaw. The larger battles, however (excuse my mixed metaphors), have yet to be fought. Cellphone searches and NSA surveillance remain to be explored. Today’s opinion provides little signal as to the Justices’ views in these broader arenas.


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