Monday, November 18, 2019
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Friday that the search of a home was lawful based on the officers’ mistaken belief that a parolee—who was subject to warrantless searches—resided there. even though the occupants insisted he had moved, and the parolee’s probation officer was aware of that.
Actual occupants of the home in Santa Paula, located in Ventura County, were Anthony Lee Ped and his mother. Ped’s brother, parolee Nick Wilson, had moved to Newbury Park, also in Ventura County, and had so advised his probation officer.
In conducting the random search, officers located seven firearms and Ped was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He pled guilty but appealed from the denial of his suppression motion by District Court Judge John A. Kronstadt of the Central District of California.
Circuit Judge Eric D. Miller wrote the opinion which upholds the conviction, but vacates ambiguous conditions of probation and remands for resentencing. Three years of probation are to follow five years and 10 months of imprisoinment.
The address of Ped’s home appeared on a list provided to police three months earllier by the probation officer. Miller wrote:
“We do not question that at a certain point, a reported address would become so old that it would no longer be reasonable for officers to rely on it. But nothing about Wilson’s reported address suggested that it was likely to be transitory, and although a person living in a house with family members might move away in less than three months, it would be reasonable to expect that he would still live there.”
He went on to say:
“Ped points out that, just days before the search, Wilson had told his probation officer that he would be living in Newbury Park. The officers who conducted the search did not know that, however, so it is not relevant to the assessment of probable cause….
“To be sure, the officers could have conducted additional inquiries to confirm that Wilson still lived at Ped’s house. But because the officers had a reasonable basis for believing that Wilson lived there, they were not required to take further steps to verify his last reported address.”
The case is United States v. Ped, 18-50179.
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