Warrantless Parole Searches In California

"A defendant may move to suppress evidence on the ground that 'the search or seizure without a warrant was unreasonable.' ( 1538.5, subd. (a)(1)(A).) A warrantless search is presumed to be unreasonable, and the prosecution bears the burden of demonstrating a legal justification for the search. (People v. Williams (1999) 20 Cal.4th 119, 127.) 'The standard of appellate review of a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress is well established. We defer to the trial court's factual findings, express or implied, where supported by substantial evidence. In determining whether, on the facts so found, the search or seizure was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, we exercise our independent judgment. ' (People v. Glaser (1995) 11 Cal.4th 354, 362 (Glaser); see People v. Laiwa (1983) 34 Cal.3d 711, 718.)" (People v. Redd (2010) 48 Cal.4th 691, 719, fn. omitted.) "A warrantless search is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment unless it is conducted pursuant to one of the few narrowly drawn exceptions to the constitutional requirement of a warrant. (U.S. Const., 4th Amend.; Arizona v. Gant (2009) 556 U.S. 332, 338 (Gant ); People v.Woods (1999) 21 Cal.4th 668, 674; People v. Bravo (1987) 43 Cal.3d 600, 609.) California's parole search clause is one of those exceptions. (Samson v. California (2006) 547 U.S. 843, 846, 850-857 (Samson).)" (People v. Schmitz (2012) 55 Cal.4th 909, 916.) "Both the California Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court have concluded that parole searches are reasonable, so long as the parolee's status is known to the officer and the search is not arbitrary, capricious, or harassing. (See Samson, supra, 547 U.S. at pp. 846, 850-856; People v. Sanders (2003) 31 Cal.4th 318, 332-334 (Sanders); People v. Reyes (1998) 19 Cal.4th 743, 750-754 (Reyes).)" (People v. Schmitz, supra, 55 Cal.4th at p. 916.) "A parolee does not have a legitimate expectation of privacy that would prevent a properly conducted parole search. (Samson, supra, 547 U.S. at p. 852; Reyes, supra, 19 Cal.4th at p. 754)" (Id. at p. 917.) "Warrantless, suspicionless searches are a vital part of effective parole supervision (Reyes, supra, 19 Cal.4th at p. 752; Samson, supra, at p. 854), and are mandated in California as a condition of every parolee's release (Pen.Code, 3067, subd. (b)(3); Cal.Code Regs., tit. 15, 2511, subd. (b)(4))." (Id. at p. 924.) Parole searches have constitutional limits. In Reyes, the California Supreme Court warned: "'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. Clower (1993) 16 Cal.App.4th 1737, 1741; United States v. Follette (S.D.N.Y.1968) 282 F.Supp. 10, 13; see In re Anthony S. (1992) 4 Cal.App.4th 1000, 1004 a search is arbitrary and capricious when the motivation for the search is unrelated to rehabilitative, reformative or legitimate law enforcement purposes, or when the search is motivated by personal animosity toward the parolee; People v. Bremmer (1973) 30 Cal.App.3d 1058, 1062 unrestricted search of a probationer or parolee by law enforcement officers at their whim or caprice is a form of harassment.)" (Reyes, supra, 19 Cal.4th at pp. 753-754.) The California Supreme Court subsequently held that "an otherwise unlawful search of the residence of an adult parolee may not be justified by the circumstance that the suspect was subject to a search condition of which the law enforcement officers were unaware when the search was conducted." (Sanders, supra, 31 Cal.4th at p. 335.) Although the United States Supreme Court was urged to impose a reasonable suspicion requirement on parolee searches (Samson, supra, 547 U.S. at p. 854), it did not do so. The court stated that "the touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is reasonableness, not individualized suspicion." (Id. at p. 855, fn. 4.) The court rejected the notion that "California's suspicionless search system gives officers unbridled discretion to conduct searches." (Samson, supra, 547 U.S. at p. 856.) It emphasized "California's prohibition on 'arbitrary, capricious or harassing' searches. See Reyes, 19 Cal.4th, at pp. 752, 753-754; People v. Bravo, 43 Cal.3d 600, 610 (1987) (probation); see also Cal. Penal Code Ann. 3067(d) (West 2000) ('It is not the intent of the Legislature to authorize law enforcement officers to conduct searches for the sole purpose of harassment')." (Samson, supra, 547 U.S. at p. 856, fn. omitted.)