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Name: Davis v. Appellate Division of the Superior Court
Case #: B286525
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 05/15/2018

Where a motion to suppress evidence challenges multiple warrantless searches, the defendant must identify the government conduct being questioned, even though he is not required to state the basis for the challenge. Davis was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (Veh. Code, § 23152, subds. (a) & (b)) and having an open container of alcohol in his car (Veh. Code, § 23226). The charges were based on evidence discovered during multiple searches that police conducted when they stopped Davis’ vehicle. In a motion to suppress, he sought to exclude test results, any statements that he made, and any observations made by the police. He did not specify which of the several warrantless searches and seizures were unlawful. The trial court denied the motion without prejudice, agreeing with the People that the prosecution had not been given notice of what was being challenged and the basis for the challenge. The appellate division denied the defendant’s petition for a writ of mandate, agreeing that the motion was insufficiently detailed. Davis then filed a petition for writ of mandate in the Court of Appeal. Held: Petition denied. A motion to suppress evidence must set forth the factual basis and legal authorities that demonstrate why the motion should be granted. When a defendant challenges a warrantless search, this obligation is generally satisfied initially if the defendant simply asserts the absence of a warrant and makes a prima facie showing to support this assertion. The prosecution then has the burden to justify the warrantless search. (See People v. Williams (1999) 20 Cal.4th 119.) After analyzing Williams, the Court of Appeal concluded that a motion that seeks to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a series of warrantless searches and seizures must identify which of the searches or seizures are being challenged. Here, Davis’ motion failed to give the prosecution adequate notice of what was being challenged. [Editor’s Note: Although the petition was denied, in a footnote the court stated that Davis may properly renew the motion, identifying which of the several warrantless searches and seizures potentially at issue he was challenging.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: