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Name: Fernandez v. California
Case #: 22-Dec
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 02/25/2014
Subsequent History: 134 S.Ct. 1126, 188 L.Ed.2d 25
Summary

Warrantless search of apartment with consent of one inhabitant was proper where the other objecting inhabitant had been lawfully arrested and removed from the home. Police officers observed a robbery suspect run into an apartment building, and heard screams coming from an apartment. They knocked on the apartment door, which was answered by Rojas, who was battered and bleeding. Fernandez then came out of the apartment and objected to a search of the apartment. Suspecting that Fernandez had assaulted Rojas, officers removed and arrested him. He was then identified as the perpetrator of the robbery, and taken to the police station. Officers then obtained Rojas’s consent to search, and found several items of evidence linking Fernandez to the robbery. The trial court denied Fernandez’s motion to suppress the evidence and he was convicted. The appellate court affirmed, holding that because Fernandez was not present when Rojas consented to the search, the exception to permissible warrantless consent searches of jointly occupied premises recognized in Georgia v. Randolph (2006) 547 U.S. 103 did not apply. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari. Held: Affirmed. In Randolph, the court held that the consent of one occupant to conduct a search is insufficient when another occupant is present and objects to the search. In this opinion, the court refused to extend Randolph the situation in this case, where consent was provided well after Fernandez had been lawfully removed from the apartment. The fact that Fernandez was not present due to his lawful arrest did not place him in any position different from any other absent occupant.