Tuesday, June 11, 2013

People v. Barnes (Cal. Ct. App. - June 11, 2013)

Here's another decision that seems obviously right.

Defendant steals a purse with a smartphone in it.  The smartphone has a GPS in it (like many such phones), and the owner consents to have Sprint "ping" it, which reveals its location:  in the possession of defendant.  Defendant moves to suppress, claiming a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

But there was no trespass or intrusion by the police.  You can't have a subjectively reasonable privacy interest in stuff you just stole.  And the only person with a legitimate privacy interest -- the owner -- consented to the search.

Good police work.  Easy case.  Right result.