California Penal Code Section 3067 - Interpretation

In California, Penal Code section 3067, subdivision (a) provides that all parolees from state prison are subject to "search or seizure by a parole officer or other peace officer at any time of the day or night, with or without a search warrant and with or without cause." This statutory provision is constitutional and it gives law enforcement the authority to search the parolee, his residence, and any property under his control. (Samson v. California, supra, at p. 857; see Cal. Code Regs., tit. 15, 2511, subd. (b)(4) describing the scope of parole searches.) Thus, when a law enforcement officer knows that the defendant is on parole and subject to a search condition, the search is reasonable and does not violate any expectation of privacy, even in the absence of a particularized suspicion of criminal activity. (People v. Sanders (2003) 31 Cal.4th 318, 333; see also People v. Hunter (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1147, 1152.) However, "'a parole search could become constitutionally "unreasonable" if made too often, or at an unreasonable hour, or if unreasonably prolonged or for other reasons establishing arbitrary or oppressive conduct by the searching officer.'" (People v. Reyes (1998) 19 Cal.4th 743, 753-754 (Reyes).) The absence of a warrant or a particularized suspicion for a parole search does not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment privacy interests, since a parolee lacks a legitimate expectation of privacy, and the state has a substantial interest in supervising parolees and reducing recidivism. (Samson v. California (2006) 547 U.S. 843, 852-853, 857.)