On October 12, 2009, Abel Lopez was attacked and robbed by a man he later identified as Walter Fernandez. Lopez managed to call 911, and a few minutes after the attack, police and paramedics arrived on the scene.
Detectives investigated a nearby alley that was a known gang location where two witnesses told them that the suspect was in an apartment in a house just off the alley. The detectives knocked on the door of the indicated apartment, and Roxanne Rojas answered. The detectives requested to enter and conduct a search, at which point Walter Fernandez stepped forward and refused the detectives entry.
The officers arrested Fernandez and took him into custody.
About an hour later, police officers secured the apartment, informed Rojas that Fernandez had been arrested in connection with a robbery, and requested to search the apartment. Rojas consented to the search verbally and in writing. During the search, officers found gang paraphernalia, a knife, and a gun.
HOLDING: In Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U. S. 103 (2006) , we recognized a narrow exception to this rule, holding that the consent of one occupant is insufficient when another occupant is present and objects to the search. In this case, we consider whether Randolph applies if the objecting occupant is absent when another occupant consents. Our opinion in Randolph took great pains to emphasize that its holding was limited to situations in which the objecting occupant is physically present. We therefore refuse to extend Randolph to the very different situation in this case, where consent was provided by an abused woman well after her male partner had been removed from the apartment they shared.
Full case: Fernandez v. California, 571 U.S. 292 (2014), https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/571/292/#tab-opinion-1970818
Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
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