California v. SmithAnnotate this Case
In December 2014, police entered a casita belonging to Skyler Smith and saw drugs in plain view. The Riverside County District Attorney filed an information charging Smith with multiple drug possession counts. The trial court subsequently denied Smith's suppression motion relating to the search of his casita. In September 2015, Smith was in an accident while riding his motorcycle. A search of the motorcycle revealed drugs. In December 2016, Smith was charged with drug possession charges. The State further alleged that Smith suffered two prison priors. During trial, the court denied a second suppression motion concerning a search of Smith's motorcycle in the second case. A jury found Smith guilty of all counts and the court found true the two prison priors. The trial court sentenced Smith to 10 years eight months in prison. Smith appealed, arguing the trial court erred in denying his suppression motions. Relying on California v. Duenas, 30 Cal.App.5th 1157 (2019), Smith also argued that the trial court could not legally impose a $10,000 restitution fine and a $300 court facilities assessment fee without first determining his ability to pay. In an opinion issued in May 2019, the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment. Smith petitioned the California Supreme Court for review, and transferred the matter back to the Court of Appeal with directions to vacate its decision and reconsider the cause in light of California v. Ovieda, 7 Cal.5th 1034 (2019). In the meantime, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill No. 136, which amended Penal Code section 667.5 (b) to limit one-year prior prison terms to cases where the prior was for "a sexually violent offense as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 6600 of the Welfare and Institutions Code[.]" Smith argued that the warrantless entry into his casita was objectively unreasonable because an unattended car running in a driveway did not constitute exigent circumstances or suggest a medical emergency, claiming that the officer acted upon an unparticularized suspicion devoid of articulable facts. The Court of Appeal agreed, concluding that the evidence seized during this warrantless search should have been suppressed because the State did not meet its burden to justify the search under the emergency aid or exigent circumstances exceptions, or the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule. With respect to Smith's his one-year prior prison term enhancements imposed on two prior convictions pursuant to section 667.5(b), he argued they had to be stricken in light of Senate Bill No. 136. The Attorney General concedes this issue. The Attorney General conceded to this latter issue. Therefore, the Court vacated its original opinion issued May 31, 2019, and issued a revised opinion addressing Smith's arguments in section II and newly added section V.