CO: When a person with apparent authority consents, an objection from another comes too late

Once one with apparent authority consents and the search starts, the other person’s finally objecting to the search comes too late. Williams v. People, 2019 CO 108, 2019 Colo. LEXIS 1280 (Dec. 23, 2019). Syllabus by the court:

Consent by one resident of jointly occupied premises generally suffices to justify a warrantless search. But Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103, 126 S. Ct. 1515, 164 L. Ed. 2d 208 (2006), carved out a narrow exception to this rule: Consent by one resident is insufficient when another resident is physically present and objects to the search.

This case requires the supreme court to decide whether the Randolph exception applies where the defendant’s wife provided police officers consent to enter the residence, and the defendant, though physically present, did not object until after the officers had already entered and were in the process of collecting drugs and paraphernalia. The court concludes that the Randolph exception does not apply. The Randolph exception applies only if, at the time the officers receive an occupant’s consent, a co-occupant who is physically present on the premises objects. Accordingly, the officers were not required to heed the defendant’s request to leave and did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights.

Since scope of consent can be limited after a search starts, why can’t the other person with equal authority limit consent? Treatise § 12.60. Not in Colorado.

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