Tuesday, July 14, 2009

U.S. v. Young, No. 07-10541 (7-14-09). One has an expectation of privacy in one's hotel room, even when locked out. The defendant here was suspected of stealing from another guest's room. Security locked him out of his, and when searching his belongings, found a weapon. The district court suppressed, and the 9th affirmed (Goodwin joined by Kleinfeld). The reasoning is that the defendant was never evicted, or told he was evicted. Moreover, he was never informed of the hotel's policy, not disclosed to the defendant or guests, about what happens when a defendant is suspected of criminal activity (lockout). The policy about firearms was also not told to the defendant. The 9th reasoned that the defendant expected his belongings to be safe. The argument about inevitable discovery, made by the dissent, is not controlling because the security personnel did not necessarily know the acts were illegal. Ikuta, dissenting, argues that the firearm would eventually have been turned over to the police anyway.

[Ed. note: This was the hotel -- the Hilton -- where FPD training was held several years ago].

Congratulations to AFPD Elizabeth Falk of the N.D. Ca (San Francisco) for the win.


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