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Name: People v. Downey
Case #: E050916
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/18/2011

A probation search of an apartment was justified even though the probationer had recently moved out because the trial court found it was based on a reasonable, good faith belief that the probationer subject to search resided there. A gang unit officer searched different data bases and found different residence addresses for George Roussell, the probationer with a search condition. He relied on the utility records as a good source to conduct a search at the Magnolia Avenue apartment. Roussell’s court records were not checked and those records indicated that he updated to change from the Magnolia address between June 1 and 4, 2009. The Magnolia Avenue manager indicated that Downey, the appellant, signed the lease in June. On June 4, 2009 a probation search was conducted at the apartment and the probationer’s utility bills were found as indicia of domicile. Downey was present at the time of the search and protested that he was the occupant, not on probation, and that Roussell had moved out. The motion to suppress was denied based on the trial court’s finding that the search was based on a reasonable, good faith belief for a probation search. The authority to enter a dwelling in which the suspect lives, when there is reason to believe he is within, is based on Payton v. New York (1980) 445 U.S. 575, 603 and requires less than probable cause.