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Supreme Court Reverses Contraband Search of Parolee

People v. McWilliams Docket: S268320, Opinion Date: February 23, 2023.The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal in this criminal case, holding that the evidence a law enforcement officer found after his illegal detention of Defendant was not admissible. The officer in this case was responding to a report of suspicious activity in the area when he unlawfully detained Defendant, who was "hanging out" in his car reclining in the passenger seat. The officer ran a records check and learned that Defendant was on active and searchable parole. The officer proceeded to search Defendant and his vehicle, finding firearm- and drug-related evidence. Defendant moved to suppress the ensuing charges against him, arguing that his detention violated the Fourth Amendment. The trial court denied the motion, and the court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the officer's discretionary decision to conduct the parole search of Defendant did not sufficiently attenuate the connection between the officer's initial unlawful decision to detain Defendant and the later discovery of contraband.

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