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Name: U.S. v. Cormier
Case #: 99-30182
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/24/2000
Subsequent History: None

Appellant’s contention that the search exceeded the scope of his consent was waived because appellant did not raise it in the district court. No exceptions excused this waiver, and the failure to raise the issue left the appeals court without any factual findings to review. “Knock and talk” encounters are ordinarily consensual unless coercive circumstances, such as unreasonable persistence by the officers, turn it into an investigatory encounter, and that did not happen here. Appellant was not in custody or seized at the time he gave his consent. The officer was dressed in plain clothes and never flashed her gun as a display of authority. Even though the officer failed to inform appellant that she could obtain a search warrant, and failed to give a warning pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436, the conclusion that the consent was voluntary, under the totality of the circumstances, was not clearly erroneous. Because appellant was not “seized” when he answered the door, his subsequent accommodation of the officer’s request to enter the motel room and his explicit consent to the officer’s request to conduct a search rendered the search voluntary. In this federal prosecution for being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), the firearm was discovered in appellant’s motel room. Appellant’s room was searched when a police officer, who took the motel registration records and ran a criminal records check on the guests, discovered appellant’s criminal history and asked a “beat cop” for the area to conduct a “knock and talk” interview with appellant in his hotel room. While Washington law requires a police officer to inform the person to be questioned that they have a right to refuse or to revoke their consent to the questioning at any time, this was not done. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that appellant’s suppression motion was properly denied. Analogizing to cases holding there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in bank records, the court found that the seizure of the guest registration records from the motel was not a Fourth Amendment violation because appellant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the registration records.