Judges Opinions, — June 25, 2024 15:04 — 0 Comments

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Carlos Arroyo-Laboy

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Carlos Arroyo-Laboy

Criminal Action-Constitutional Law-Search and Seizure-State Parole-Supervision-Omnibus Pretrial Motion to Suppress Evidence-Routine Home Search-Black Box-Handgun Logo-Reasonable Suspicion-Totality of the Circumstances

Carlos Arroyo-Laboy (“Defendant”), who was on State parole classified as requiring a maximum level of supervision with a prior probation violation relating to possession of a firearm, had a routine visit by his parole agent at his home.  The parole agent observed a black plastic box bearing a Glock handgun logo.  The parole agent undertook a search of the home after acquiring assistance of the local police department.  A police officer entered the home, at which time the officer observed contraband.  The police officer obtained consent of Defendant and another resident of the home to search the premises, after which a handgun with accessories and bullets, controlled substances and paraphernalia were located.  Defendant was charged with controlled substance and firearm violations as a result of the search.  Defendant filed an Omnibus Pretrial Motion to suppress evidence resulting from the search on the basis that the searches were unlawful.

1.  A search of a parolee is reasonable where the totality of the circumstances show that a parole agent has reasonable suspicion to believe that the parolee committed a parole violation and the search reasonably is related to the duties of the parole agent.

2.  Under Title 61 Pa.C.S. Section 6182(d)(2), a parole agent has the authority to search the residence of a parolee if the parole agent has reasonable suspicion that the real or personal property of a parolee contains contraband or evidence of a violation of supervision. 

3.  In determining whether reasonable suspicion exists, Section 6182(d)(4) lists the following factors that may be considered:  observations by the parole agent, information provided by others, activities of the parolee, information provided by the parolee, the experience of the parole agent, the prior criminal history of the parolee and the need to verify the parolee’s compliance with supervision. 

4.  While a parole agent must follow the guidelines of the United States Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution regarding searches and seizures, a parolee has a diminished right to privacy as a condition of being released from prison early. 

5.  Where the parole agent was acting within the scope of his duties to ensure that Defendant, who was classified as requiring a maximum level of supervision and had a past probation violation involving firearms, was not violating conditions of parole, the agent observed a box with a Glock handgun logo upon it in plain view while conducting a routine home visit, the agent was aware that Defendant is a convicted felon who is not allowed to possess firearms and Defendant and another resident of the home gave police permission to search the residence after the office observed contraband in plain view, the totality of the circumstances establish that the agent had reasonable suspicion to believe that a parole violation was being committed.

L.C.C.C.P. No. CP-38-CR-0000160-2023, Opinion by Bradford H. Charles, Judge, August 7, 2023.

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