People v. Superior CourtAnnotate this Case
This case stems from the arrest of Joshua Corbett in Sandra Bullock's home where he was charged with 26 offenses, including stalking, burglary, and firearm offenses. The People seek a writ of mandate compelling the trial court to vacate its ruling and to deny a motion to suppress evidence. In this case, the parties agree that the police had probable cause to obtain a search warrant before they entered Corbett's home, and there is no dispute that officers had the opportunity to seek a warrant but elected not to do so. The People argued that because the police later obtained a warrant after the initial search, the evidence in his home would inevitably have been discovered. The court concluded that the police violated the Fifth Amendment by failing to honor Corbett's unambiguous invocation during custodial interrogation of his right to remain silent; the police violated Corbett's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable governmental searches and seizures when officers seized firearms and ammunition from his home during a warrantless search; and thus the trial court properly suppressed the evidence seized during that search. Furthermore, the People's contention that the search warrant was validly issued upon independent evidence that is unaffected by the prior unlawful entry into defendant's residence, making it inevitable that the items illegally seized the day before would have been seized eventually, is without merit. The court concluded that, in the absence of exigent circumstances, if the police could have obtained but did not obtain a warrant to search a person's residence, and entered the person's residence illegally based on an invalid consent, the fact that they could have obtained a warrant, or later obtained a warrant when they wanted to return to search the home again, does not excuse their failure to obtain a warrant before the initial entry. The court further explained that, even if the police had sought the search warrant on the basis of Corbett's purported violation of the emergency protective order, the People have not established that a search warrant could properly have been issued on this basis due to problems of notice and the absence of an opportunity to comply with the protective order's firearms relinquishment obligations. The court rejected the People's remaining arguments and denied the petition.