Skip to content
Name: United States v. Howard
Case #: 05-10469
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/25/2006

The district court erred when it found that there was probable cause to believe that appellant resided in the searched apartment. Appellant was convicted of robbery in 1996 and placed on probation with a search condition. A confidential informant notified appellant’s probation officer that he was staying at his girlfriend’s apartment, that the girlfriend was a convicted felon, and that there was a firearm in the apartment. The probation officer conducted a search of the apartment pursuant to appellant’s search condition, despite the girlfriend’s refusal to consent to the search. Appellant acknowledged that the gun found in the apartment was his. The only other items in the apartment belonging to appellant were a prescription and the probation officer’s business card. Appellant’s motion to suppress evidence including incriminating statements made after the search (that the gun was his) was denied. The appellate court reversed the district court’s denial of the suppression motion. There was insufficient evidence that appellant either resided at the apartment or visited there regularly. Police knew that he did not have a key to the residence, and no credible witnesses had seen him there for some time before the search. Further, police visits to appellant’s reported address suggested that he continued to reside there. Police surveillance of the girlfriend’s address prior to the search did not result in any sightings of appellant.