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Name: People v. Douglas
Case #: A140279
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 09/28/2015
Summary

An officer need only have an objectively reasonable belief that a person is on postrelease community supervision (PRCS) to lawfully seize and search the person. Detective Bailey was investigating recent gun violence in a neighborhood when he spotted Douglas, who he had arrested two years before for a firearms-related offense. Bailey decided to search Douglas because he believed Douglas was on PRCS. Bailey ordered Douglas out of his car and, when Douglas got up, a loaded handgun fell to the floorboard. Before his trial for being a felon in possession, Douglas moved to suppress the handgun on the basis that it was the fruit of an unlawful detention. The trial court denied the suppression motion. Douglas appealed, arguing that the detention was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment because Baily did not have actual, current knowledge that Douglas was on PRCS. Held: Affirmed. Every defendant released on PRCS is subject to a search condition. (See Pen. Code, § 3465.) Here, the Court of Appeal concluded that an officer who has an objectively reasonable belief, based on the totality of the circumstances, that a person is on PRCS may detain and search the person without a warrant. Like a parole search, an officer’s knowledge that a person is on PRCS is equivalent to the knowledge that he is subject to a search condition. The officer does not need to know to an absolute certainty that the person is on PRCS. Applying this standard, the court determined that Bailey’s belief that Douglas was on PRCS was objectively reasonable. Although Bailey did not consult a countywide database known as ARIES to verify Douglas’s status before contacting Douglas, he had arrested Douglas two years before and could have quickly calculated that Douglas would still be on PRCS. Furthermore, Bailey remembered seeing Douglas’s name on a list of active probationers at some point in the last two months.