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Juveniles Search and seizure Hotel room Standing

Posted by John Rutkowski | Jul 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

Criminal law -- Juveniles -- Search and seizure -- Hotel room -- Standing -- Drug evidence discovered in hotel room rented by another minor under a false name after juvenile was arrested in doorway of the hotel room on outstanding probable cause affidavit for domestic battery. Court rejects argument that juvenile lacked standing to challenge law enforcement's entry into hotel room because juvenile did not rent room. Identity of payor of hotel room is not dispositive of standing. Juvenile had reasonable expectation of privacy in the hotel room sufficient to confer standing, irrespective of who paid the bill, where evidence suggested that juvenile was a guest in the hotel and not just a casual, short term visitor. Argument that juvenile lacked standing because minor who rented hotel room did so illegally lacks merit. There is no statute making it a crime to either obtain or reside in lodging as a minor, or to use an alias to book a hotel room -- Exigent circumstances. Officers did not have an objectively reasonable basis to believe that exigent circumstances justified their warrantless entry into hotel room. While officers testified that they observed another occupant run to the back of the room, juvenile was already in custody and posed no threat or harm to officers, and no testimony was offered as to why the movement of one of the occupants caused the officers any safety concern or suggested criminal activity. Furthermore, any safety claim was undercut by the fact that officers dragged juvenile back into the hotel room with them. Incident to arrest -- Protective sweep of hotel room was impermissible where state failed to present evidence that a protective sweep was necessary for officer safety or the preservation of evidence -- Occupants' movement to the back of the room was, by itself, insufficient to justify protective sweep. Suppression order affirmed.

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About the Author

John Rutkowski

Mr. Rutkowski has been practicing law for the past twenty-four years. Prior to going to law school Mr. Rutkowski served as a deputy sheriff before retiring to attend law school. Upon graduating law school Mr. Rutkowski served as a prosecutor in Florida before going in to private practice.

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