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Name: People v. Sardinas
Case #: B207979
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/22/2009

Reasonable suspicion that the parolee has violated the law or a condition of parole is not a prerequisite for a parole search, and the search is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment if it is not arbitrary, capricious, or harassing. An officer conducted a parolee search of appellant and found him in possession of rock cocaine. The night before, he had observed a van driven by appellant that had no illuminated taillights. He stopped it and searched appellant, the van, and appellant’s residence but found nothing suspicious. Appellant moved for suppression of the evidence, arguing that the search was unreasonable as it constituted harassment since it was close in time to previous searches by this officer. (People v. Reyes (1998) 19 Cal.4th 743; People v. Clower (1993) 16 Cal.App.4th 1737.) The appellate court upheld the denial of the motion to suppress, finding substantial evidence supported the conclusion the search was for legitimate law enforcement purposes and not for harassment. The instant search took place across the street from a location known to the officer as one where drug trafficking occurred; the officer knew appellant was on parole for a drug conviction and had observed appellant associating with drug addicts in the past; the officer showed no animus toward appellant; and part of the officer’s job was to identify parolees and patrol areas of drug trafficking. The court did not agree with appellant’s claim that the officer’s six or seven prior contacts with him and recent searches of him supported a conclusion that the instant search was harassment.