SD: Being a close friend and regular social guest of the homeowner still doesn’t give standing

Being a close friend and regular social guest of the homeowner still doesn’t give standing; it just isn’t a strong enough connection to the premises. He cared for the homeowner’s cat on occasion, but that wasn’t explained. State v. Gaters, 2017 SD 60, 2017 S.D. LEXIS 112 (Sept. 20, 2017):

[*P18] Here, Gaters presented no evidence of “ownership, possession and/or control of” Jones’s home—such as a key, a right to exclude others, a right to be present in Jones’s absence. See United States v. Gomez, 16 F.3d 254, 256 (8th Cir. 1994) (listing factors to consider); United States v. Davis, No. 4:14-CR-00348-01-BCW, 2015 WL 3616751 (W.D. Mo. June 9, 2015). He also presented no evidence to support his historical use of Jones’s home. Gaters simply relies on his long-standing friendship with Jones, that Jones invited Gaters into his home the day of the search, and that Jones cared for Gaters’s cat. This evidence does not “demonstrate a personal and reasonable expectation of privacy in the place searched.” See Hess, 2004 S.D. 60, ¶ 11, 680 N.W.2d at 320. Nor does this evidence establish that Gaters had “a sufficiently close connection to the relevant places or objects searched[.]” See Gomez, 16 F.3d at 256.

[*P19] From our review, the circumstances suggest a situation “closer to that of one simply permitted on the premises.” See Carter, 525 U.S. at 91, 119 S. Ct. at 474. Therefore, Gaters has not met his burden that he had a subjective expectation of privacy in Jones’s home that society would recognize as reasonable. Because Gaters did not establish a protectable interest in the property searched, the circuit court did not err when it denied Gaters’s motion to suppress. In light of our holding on this issue, we need not examine whether law enforcement’s use of the pole camera violated Gaters’s Fourth Amendment rights.

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