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Legal Victory: Motion to Suppress Evidence Granted

Boitez v. Super. Ct. Docket: C098102 (Third Appellate District), Opinion Date: November 7, 2023. Petitioner Juan Boitez moved to suppress evidence obtained during a search of his mother’s car. After the trial court denied his motion, Boitez petitioned for writ of mandate or prohibition The issue this case presented for the Court of Appeals' review was whether Boitez gave voluntary consent for the police to search his mother’s car after he was pulled over for a traffic violation. As a material part of obtaining Boitez's consent, the police officer falsely, but apparently with subjective belief that it was true, stated that he had the authority to tow the car, but would not do so if Boitez consented to the search. Specifically, the Court considered whether, but for the police officer’s false promise of leniency as to the towing of the mother’s car, the prosecution met its burden by a preponderance of the evidence that Boitez's consent was uncoerced. To this, the Court concluded the prosecution did not meet its burden: the false promise of leniency not to tow the car was a material and inextricable part of the agreement inducing defendant’s consent to the search, and thus, under the totality of the circumstances, petitioner's consent was not voluntarily given. As part of its analysis, the Court adopted the reasoning of the First Circuit Court of Appeals that the question of voluntary consent "cannot be based on the subjective good faith of a police officer in making the false statement that induced the defendant’s consent to search." The Court issued a peremptory writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate its order denying the motion to suppress and to enter a new order granting the motion.

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