ID: Dep. of Environmental Quality didn’t violate any REP by entering where it’s open to the public

The state Department of Environmental Quality inspectors did not violate respondent’s reasonable expectation of privacy by entering. His property was open “24/7” to the public. Idaho Dep’t of Envtl. Quality v. Gibson, 2020 Ida. LEXIS 48 (Mar. 11, 2020):

Here, we agree with the district court that Ehlert’s investigation did not constitute a Fourth Amendment search, and thus was “in conformity with … the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Idaho.” I.C. § 39-108(2)(c). Gibson’s facility was open “24/7″ to those who wanted to access it. There were no physical barriers stopping Ehlert from entering the facility—in fact, arrows and signs pointed him into the facility—and he entered to find an attendant in order to conduct a more detailed inspection. Members of the public seeking to locate an employee could reasonably understand that they could enter the pathway into the facility in an attempt to locate the operator. In addition, all of the facility was an open field; windrows almost football fields in length were visible from the front gate and the road. The DEQ employees did not take samples or conduct any tests. In effect, they did what a customer seeking to talk to an employee would have done.

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