Sunday, October 4, 2009

Expectation of Privacy in Hotel Room Ends at Checkout Time, Even if Guest is in Police Custody at Checkout Time

In People v Kobza (2009 NY Slip Op 06948 [4th Dept 10/02/09]) the Court held that the defendant's expectation in the privacy of his hotel room expired when he did not check out by check out time because he was in police custody:

We reject the contention of defendant that Supreme Court erred in refusing to suppress two incriminating letters that the police found in a hotel room. Defendant had the burden of establishing that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the hotel room that was searched by the police (see People v Ramirez-Portoreal, 88 NY2d 99, 108), and he failed to meet that burden. Inasmuch as defendant failed to check out of the hotel by the required time, he "lost his [legitimate] expectation of privacy in the hotel room and its contents, and the [owner] of the hotel had the authority to consent to the search" by the police (People v D'Antuono, 306 AD2d 890, lv denied 100 NY2d 593, 641). That search was not rendered illegal by the fact that defendant's tenancy expired while defendant was detained after having been arrested.

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