People v. Downey Issue To conduct a probation search of a home, must officers have probable cause to believe that the probationer lives there? Or will reasonable suspicion suffice? Facts Riverside police detective Kevin Townsend decided to conduct a probation search on George Roussell’s home. The detective was having a very time trying to figure out where the Roussell lived. The probation agency said that Roussell lived in Moreno Valley, but the court system said that he lived in Corona.
Roussells DMV address was on a Gould street in Riverside, but all his recent information like the local utilities and phone company showed that he was living at 8123 Magnolia Avn. Apt. 85 in Riverside. Detective Townsend made the decision that the Magnolia apartments had to be his current residents because of the utility bills. He also believed that was his home because most probationers and parolees give false addresses so that they can avoid warren less arrest. Most probationers and parolees don’t know that the police have access to there utility bills.
Police use there utility bills so that they can track the criminals down and find out where they live. After detective Townsend decided that that Roussells current address was the Magnolia apts he decided to conduct a probation search. While searching the apartment they found a hand gun. After searching the residents detective Townsend found out from Kima Downey that Roussell had moved out about three months earlier, The detective also found out that Downey was a convicted felon, they arrested him for possession of the gun. Downey motioned to suppress the weapon but it was denied and he pled guilty. Discussion nited states supreme court ruled that police officers that have a warrant to arrest someone can enter a home just to arrest the person only if they have the reason to believe the person actually lives there. The same standard was applied for officers when they are conducting a parole or probation search. The officers must have reason to believe that a parolee or probationer lives there before they can enter the home and conduct the search. For many years the courts have been trying to decide whether or not reason to believe means probable cause or just reasonable suspicion. California courts have not resolved the issue till now.
In the Downey case the court of appeal ruled that reasonable suspicion is enough to be able to conduct a search. The court decided that the officers that searched Roussells house had reasonable suspicion that Roussell did live at that address, because of the utility bills and the telephone records. That is why Downey’s motion to suppress was properly denied. Application to Police Work This case makes it more clear on what officers need to be able to conduct a search on a probationer or parolees house. It also lets officers search the houses of the probationers and parolees even though the courts have the wrong addresses for them