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Name: People v. Smith
Case #: A120331
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/09/2009

The motion to suppress was properly denied where the search of parolee’s underwear was not a “public strip search.” During a parole search, police officers looked in Smith’s pants for contraband. They pulled his pants down a foot or so, then pulled the elastic waistband of his underwear away from his body, finding a large bag of contraband “sitting right on top of his penis.” There were no persons other than the officers who witnessed the search. On appeal from his felony narcotics conviction, Smith contended that the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence unreasonably obtained during a “public strip search” was error. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed, finding that the search did not constitute a public strip search. The intrusion was limited to that necessary to determine whether Smith was concealing drugs, and did not constitute a broad invasion of his privacy. The intrusiveness of the search was even less significant because of Smith’s diminished expectation of privacy as a parolee. The search met constitutional standards, and the motion was properly denied.