Police could enter a commonly used residence to look for a probationer they had probable cause to believe committed a violent crime, over the protests of the primary occupant, her mother. They entered over the mother’s objection but didn’t find the daughter. She sued, and lost because the entry was reasonable. Smith v. City of Santa Clara, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24307 (9th Cir. Nov. 30, 2017). Summary by the court:
The panel held that once the government has probable cause to believe that a probationer has actually reoffended by participating in a violent felony, the government’s need to locate the probationer and protect the public is heightened. The panel held that this heightened interest in locating the probationer was sufficient to outweigh a third party’s privacy interest in the home that she shared with the probationer. The panel held that Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103 (2006), which recognized a limitation on warrantless consent searches, was not directly applicable because the Supreme Court’s probation-search cases did not rest on a consent rationale. Instead, the question was whether a warrantless probation search that affects the rights of a third party is reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. The panel held that under the totality of the circumstances, and the undisputed facts of this case, the warrantless search of plaintiff’s home, over her objection, was reasonable as a matter of law. The panel further held that there was sufficient evidence at trial to permit the jury to find that officers had probable cause to believe that plaintiff’s daughter lived at the residence.