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Name: People v. Pearl
Case #: G041316
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/08/2009

A suppression motion was improperly denied where there was insufficient evidence that appellant was still on parole at time of parole search. Pearl challenged his burglary and receiving stolen property convictions on the ground that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence seized from his home during a warrantless search. The only justification for the search was that Pearl was on searchable parole at the time of the search. The evidence presented at the suppression hearing established that Pearl was placed on parole on December 12, 2000, and that his parole expiration date was December 11, 2004, unless he had been a fugitive from justice during the parole term. The warrantless searches were conducted on December 13, 14, and 28, 2004. The evidence at the hearing was insufficient to prove that Pearl was ever a fugitive from justice during the parole period. After the hearing ended, the prosecution reopened its case to introduce prison records with ambiguous handwritten entries about return to prison, without explanation. The appellate court held that the prosecution failed at the suppression hearing to meet its burden of proving that Pearl was on searchable parole at the time the searches were conducted. The searches therefore violated Pearl’s Fourth Amendment rights. The prosecution did not present any evidence to support a good faith exception to the exclusionary rule. The prosecution’s burden of proof concerning the good faith exception has not been altered by the opinion in Herring v. United States (2009) 555 U.S. ____ [129 S.Ct. 695; 172 L.Ed.2d 496]. And since the evidence from the unlawful searches was the only evidence of the offenses, Pearl’s convictions were reversed.