United States v. Grandberry

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-17-2013
  • Case #: 11-50498
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Berzon for the Court; Senior District Judge Rakoff; Concurrence by Circuit Judge Watford; Concurrence by Circuit Judge Berzon
  • Full Text Opinion

Officers seeking to search the home of a parolee must first have probable cause that the parolee lives there in order to conduct a search without a warrant.

Los Angeles Police Department officers received a tip from an anonymous informant that someone was selling crack cocaine out of a garage. The officers learned that the garage was known as “Looney’s spot” and belonged to Lambert Grandberry who was on parole for a prior felony conviction. One parole condition was that Grandberry and his residence and any property under his control could be searched without a warrant. Officers conducted surveillance on Grandberry for about ten days, following him to a nearby apartment building and exchanging bags that appeared to contain cocaine. When the officers saw Grandberry arrive at the apartment building, they identified themselves, arrested him, and told him that since he was on parole they would need to search his residence. Grandberry replied, “Do what you gotta do.” A warrantless search discovered firearms and evidence of crack cocaine. The district court initially denied Grandberry’s motion to suppress the cocaine, but then the court granted reconsideration and suppressed the evidence. The government took an interlocutory appeal. The Ninth Circuit concluded that the officers needed probable cause to search the residence even though Grandberry was on parole and that the information they had before conducting the search did not amount to probable cause. Grandberry’s response to the officer was entirely too ambiguous to be viewed as an admission that he lived there. None of the factors present amounted to probable cause that Grandberry was living at the residence searched. Therefore, the panel held that the officers lacked probable cause to search the apartment without a warrant, even with Grandberry’s parole search condition. AFFIRMED.

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