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Name: People v. Tolliver et al.
Case #: C049959
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/11/2008

An alleged expectation of privacy pursuant to the Fourth Amendment will be defeated if society does not perceive the expectation of privacy as legitimate. The Fourth Amendment, guarantees an individual protection from unreasonable searches and seizure. To obtain suppression of evidence discovered in an unlawful search, a defendant has the burden of proving he had a legitimate expectation of privacy; this, in turn, being subject to a two-part test: (1) did the defendant manifest a subjective expectation of privacy in the object of the search; and (2) is society willing to recognize the expectation of privacy as legitimate. In this case, Villasenor, a major participant in a conspiracy to transport drugs from Texas to Sacramento, arranged for the purchase of an automobile to use for the transport. Although he provided the money for the purchase, he did not have the car registered in his name, or take any other action to connect himself with the car. He did this because he intended to use the car for the illegal purpose of transporting drugs and did not want it associated with him if it were searched. The car was searched, with sizeable quantities of contraband located. The appellate court upheld the denial of Villasenor’s suppression motion, observing that when Villasenor distanced himself from the vehicle, leaving others to take the blame if illegal acts were detected, he abandoned any privacy interest in the car and the privacy interest he later attempted to assert via the suppression action was illegitimate, so as to deprive him of standing.