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Name: People v. Session (2023) 93 Cal.App.5th 723
Case #: G060536
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/19/2023

Investigator who identified defendant as a burglary suspect and knew of his parole status properly placed a warrantless GPS tracking device on his vehicle; the source of his knowledge regarding defendant’s parole status was not legally relevant. Defendant was a suspect in a string of residential burglaries, some of which were captured by home security systems. During a traffic stop, the investigating officer who had already identified both the defendant and the vehicle as suspects in several of the burglaries, arrived at the scene and placed a warrantless GPS tracking device on the vehicle. The officer knew defendant was on parole. Defendant was eventually apprehended following a car chase that ended in a crash. Evidence from the burglaries was recovered from the collision site. Defendant unsuccessfully challenged the search on the ground that the investigator’s knowledge of his status was “vague and uncorroborated.” Held: Affirmed. Parole searches are valid if (1) the parolee’s status is known to the officer and (2) the search is not arbitrary, capricious, or harassing. The Court of Appeal held that the source of the officer’s knowledge about a person’s parole status is not legally meaningful and distinguished a case involving a probationer. Here, the officer knew defendant’s parole status and there was no evidence the search qualified as harassing, arbitrary, or capricious. [Editor’s Note: The Court of Appeal also held that the failure to hold a bifurcated trial pursuant to AB 333 was harmless under Watson because much of the gang evidence, which was “not so overwhelming or voluminous,” was also admissible to demonstrate guilt and the burglary “evidence was simply overwhelming . . . .”]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: