Although parents may choose to grant their minor children joint access and mutual use of the home, parents normally retain control of the home as well as the power to rescind the authority they have given. “It does not startle us that a parent’s consent to a search of the living room in the absence of his minor child is given effect; but we should not allow the police to rely on the consent of the child to bind the parent. The common sense of the matter is that the … parent has not surrendered his privacy of place in the living room to the discretion of the … child; rather, the latter [has] privacy of place there in the discretion of the former.” (Weinreb, supra, 42 U.Chi.L.Rev. at p. 60; see People v. Jennings, supra, 142 Cal.App.2d at p. 168.)
Other courts that have considered the authority, or capacity, of a minor child to consent to a police entry of the family home generally have refused to uphold the admissibility of evidence found therein in a criminal action against the parent. The reasoning of these cases is sound: a child cannot waive the privacy rights of her parents.
Full case here: People v. Jacobs (1987) 43 Cal.3d 472, https://scocal.stanford.edu/opinion/people-v-jacobs-23503
Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
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