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Name: People v. Munoz
Case #: G039305
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 09/29/2008

A motel occupant who unknowingly pays for a room with counterfeit money and without the intent to defraud has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the room. Police entered a motel room without obtaining a warrant and without consent from its occupants after they were called by a motel manager to investigate a counterfeit bill given to him by one of the occupants. The prosecution appealed from an order suppressing evidence found in the room arguing the defendants had no expectation of privacy in the room because they paid for it in part with counterfeit money. The Court of Appeal upheld the suppression. When a person intends to defraud an innkeeper, continued presence on the property is a trespass. But here, there was no evidence or trial court finding of intent to defraud because the bill did not look obviously counterfeit and there was no evidence that the defendants were actively engaged in creating counterfeit currency. Additionally, the motel manager had not taken steps to evict defendants nor asked officers to assist in evicting them. Therefore, defendants retained a reasonable expectation of privacy in the room at the time of the entry.