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Law School Case Brief

People v. Galvadon - 103 P.3d 923 (Colo. 2005)

Rule:

Judicial review of Fourth Amendment standing is made on a case-by-case basis, looking to the totality of circumstances to determine if the defendant maintained a reasonable expectation of privacy in the place searched. In examining the circumstances of a particular case, courts have chosen to focus on different factors. Some courts look to the "nexus" between the area searched and the work space of the defendant. Other courts have looked to a defendant's right to exclude others from accessing the area for which the defendant asserts privacy. Regardless of the factors considered, an employee's expectation of privacy must be assessed in the context of the employment relation.

Facts:

A police officer investigating suspicious activity followed two individuals into the back room of a liquor store. Other officers were called to the scene and, while standing in the back room, discovered bricks of marijuana. After seeing defendant attempting to stuff it into his pants, an officer seized a store surveillance video tape, which showed defendant placing what officers believed to be bricks of marijuana in the back room. The trial court granted defendant's motion to suppress the evidence seized from the liquor store, finding that defendant had standing to assert Fourth Amendment protection on the basis of his reasonable expectation of privacy in the back room. 

Issue:

Is the defendant entitled to protection of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The supreme court affirmed. Defendant, as the night manager and the sole person in control of the store, maintained a reasonable expectation of privacy from government intrusion in the back room of the store, an area without public access, such that he was entitled to assert the Fourth Amendment's protection. The use of a surveillance system reviewable only by the night manager and the owner of the store did not diminish his reasonable expectation of privacy from government intrusion.

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