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Media Alerts - USA v. Antoine Cortez-Dutrieville - Third Circuit
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March 1, 2014
  USA v. Antoine Cortez-Dutrieville - Third Circuit
Headline: Third Circuit Holds There is No Fourth Amendment Standing to File a Motion to Suppress Where Defendant was on Premises in violation of a Protection From Abuse Order

Area of Law: Motion to Suppress

Issue(s) Presented: Whether a defendant has Fourth Amendment standing to file a motion to suppress when defendant was barred from the premises by a Protection From Abuse Order?

Brief Summary: Antoine Cortez-Dutrieville was charged with one count of attempted possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). He filed a motion to suppress the evidence, claiming that there was no probable cause. The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania held that Dutrieville did not have Fourth Amendment standing to bring the challenge because a Protection From Abuse Order barred him from the home of the mother of his child, where the heroin was found. Therefore, he lacked a legitimate expectation of privacy in both the home and his overnight bag. The Third Circuit affirmed, holding that even though the mother of his child consented to Dutrieville's presence in the home, her consent could not override the Protection Order and therefore Dutrieville had no legitimate expectation of privacy in a home where he was unlawfully present.

Extended Summary: Antoine Cortez-Dutrieville appealed the denial of his motion to suppress evidence seized from the home of the mother of his child. In June 2012, law enforcement agents intercepted a UPS package containing heroin that was to be delivered to the home, and repackaged the box with a beeper that would indicate when the package was opened. Based on this information, the agents obtained an anticipatory search warrant for the residence of Portia Newell, the mother of Dutrieville's child. The warrant covered the contents of the package and a list of materials commonly associated with drug trafficking. An undercover agent delivered the package, and two minutes later the beeper activated. Agents approached the home and announced their presence. When they received no response, they entered the home, took Dutrieville into custody, and searched the home.

The agents found the heroin underneath a blanket in the rear bedroom. In the master bedroom they found the empty package, the beeper, Dutrieville's cell phone, and his overnight bag, which contained 45 unused stamp bags, commonly used to package heroin. The agents also found digital scales and other drug paraphernalia in the living room.

Dutrieville was the subject of a Protection From Abuse Order, which provided that: (1) Dutrieville was not to contact Newell except to make child custody arrangements; (2) Dutrieville was "completely evicted and excluded from" Newell's residence; (3) Dutrieville had "no right or privilege to enter or be present on the premises of [Newell]"; (4) the protection order would remain in effect until October 7, 2013; (5) Newell's consent could not override the express terms of the order; and (6) Dutrieville could be arrested without a warrant for violating the terms of the order. App. 194-96. However, he had been staying at the home with Newell's consent for three days.

Dutrieville was charged with one count of attempted possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). He filed a motion to suppress the evidence, claiming that there was no probable cause. The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania held that Dutrieville did not have Fourth Amendment standing to bring the challenge because the Protection Order barred him from the home. Therefore, he lacked a legitimate expectation of privacy in both the home and his overnight bag.
Dutrieville entered a conditional guilty plea, which allowed him to file an appeal on the motion to suppress. On appeal, Dutrieville argued that he has Fourth Amendment standing and that the Court should remand the case to the District Court for consideration of the probable cause argument.

The Third Circuit affirmed the District Court's holding that Dutrieville does not have Fourth Amendment standing to bring the probable cause argument. In United States v. Kennedy, the Supreme Court held that an individual's expectation of privacy is legitimate if: (1) the individual demonstrated a subjective expectation of privacy in the subject of the search and (2) this expectation of privacy is objectively reasonable. In Bond v. United States, the Supreme Court held that the subjective prong requires a court to determine whether the defendant, "by his conduct, has exhibited an actual expectation of privacy," and in United States v. Correa, the Third Circuit held that the objective prong requires a court to determine whether the defendant's "expectation of privacy is "one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable."

Dutrieville argued that he had an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in the home since he was an overnight guest, staying at Newell's home with her consent. Although the Supreme Court held in Minnesota v. Olson that a person's "status as an overnight guest is alone enough to show that he had an expectation of privacy in the home that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable," Dutrieville was prohibited from entering the home and from having any contact with Newell due to the Protection Order. Even though Newell consented, her consent could not override the terms of the Protection Order. The Court reasoned that like a trespasser or squatter, who occupy a piece of property unlawfully, Dutrieville's presence in the home was unlawful and therefore he did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy.

The Court also rejected Dutrieville's argument that even if he did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in the home, he had an expectation of privacy in his overnight bag. The Court held that because Dutrieville's presence in the home was unlawful, it followed that he lacked an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in the bag that he brought with him. The Court cited the Fourth Circuit's holding in United States v. Wellons that a person legally prohibited from entering a particular place cannot reasonably expect to use that place as a "private repository or his personal effects." Therefore, Dutrieville lacked standing to challenge the search of the home and his overnight bag.

The full opinion can be found at http://www2.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/132266p.pdf

Panel: Circuit Judges Chagares, Shwartz, and Aldisert

Argument Date: 02/11/2014

Argument Location: Philadelphia

Date of Issued Opinion: 02/26/2014

Docket Number: No. 13-2266

Decided: Affirmed

Case Alert Author: Larissa Staszkiw

Counsel: Lisa B. Freeland, Esq.¿& Renee Pietropaolo, Esq., Office of the Federal Public Defender, Counsel for Appellant; David J. Hickton, Esq., Michael Leo Ivory, Esq., & Rebecca R. Haywood, Esq., United States Attorney's Office, Counsel for Appellee

Author of Opinion: Judge Shwartz

Circuit: 3rd Circuit

Case Alert Circuit Supervisor: Prof. Susan L. DeJarnatt

    Posted By: Susan DeJarnatt @ 03/01/2014 10:48 AM     3rd Circuit  

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