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Name: People v. Pereira
Case #: A114794
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/15/2007

A defendant who used an alias to mail a package filled with contraband did not forfeit his expectation of privacy in the package. Appellant brought a marijuana filled teddy bear to a shipping company for shipping. The package bore a false return name and address. Police were notified by an employee at the shipping company who was suspicious and opened the package. Appellant was told to pick up the package at the shipping office, and was arrested when he arrived. Officers searched his person, vehicle, and apartment, finding drugs, drug paraphernalia, and ammunition. The trial court granted appellant’s motion to suppress the evidence, finding that he maintained an expectation of privacy in the package, and had not abandoned it, and that there were no exigent circumstances justifying a search of the teddy bear without a warrant. The prosecutor appealed. The appellate court affirmed, finding that the trial court did not err in finding under the totality of the circumstances, that appellant did not abandon the package by sending it under a fictitious name. There was no evidence that the name and address of the recipient of the package was fictitious, and appellant retained a tracking number for the package, which permitted him to retain control over it while in transit. He telephoned concerning its whereabouts several times, objectively demonstrating his continuing interest in it. There was substantial evidence of objective factors which support the trial court’s finding that the package was not abandoned.