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Name: United States v. Bautista
Case #: 02-50664
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/26/2004

Bautista manufactured counterfeit currency while staying in a San Diego hotel room. He used a stolen credit card to reserve the room. When the hotel owner found the card was stolen, he informed police, who searched the room with the consent of Bautista’s wife. The search led to the discovery of the counterfeit currency. Bautista was arrested and gave a confession. Bautista filed an unsuccessful motion to suppress the evidence seized from the warrantless search of the hotel room, and the statements made while in custody. The appellate court here reversed the denial of the suppression motion. Because Bautista was not evicted from the motel room by the manager, he retained a legitimate expectation of privacy at the time of the warrantless entry by police. Because the entry, which was based solely on the unconfirmed report of a stolen credit card, was not supported by probable cause, the wife’s consent did not remedy the Fourth Amendment violation. Further, her consent was based on acquiescence to a claim of lawful authority, rather than a freely given consent. However, the evidence adduced during the suppression hearing demonstrated that the confession was voluntary, and the denial of the suppression motion regarding the statements was affirmed. Bautista’s testimony that he was threatened with incarceration of his wife if he did not confess was found not to be credible.