S.D.Cal.: Databases checked by probation officers showed def was still on probation before probation search; GFE applies

Defendant claimed his probation search was unreasonable because he was off probation when the search occurred. All the evidence, however, shows that the officers acted in good faith because they checked databases, and it all showed he was still on probation. Their reliance was objectively reasonable, and the search was based on reasonable suspicion. United States v. Fencl, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2231 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 5, 2023):

Here, the Court finds that the Government has met its burden. First, there is no evidence that Detective White organized the search of Defendant’s residence in a manner that was reckless, grossly negligent, or deliberately designed to violate Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. In fact, the opposite is closer to the truth. White checked the SD Law database, asked a colleague to check court records, and called the San Diego County Probation Office to confirm Defendant’s probation status. Opp’n Supp. at 5-6. Each source incorrectly informed him that Defendant was on probation subject to a Fourth Amendment waiver, but it was reasonable for Detective White to rely on them in planning the search. Id. Nevertheless, Defendant contends that White ignored a “sea of red flags” which should have “alerted him to the possibility that he needed to apply for a warrant.” Mot. Supp. at 15. The Court is not convinced that any of these “red flags” would have alerted a reasonable officer to the unconstitutionality of the search.

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