Unpublished Disposition, 921 F.2d 282 (9th Cir. 1988)

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US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 921 F.2d 282 (9th Cir. 1988)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.ONE 1980 DODGE SPORTSMAN MOTOR HOME, Defendant,Paul Chew, Claimant-Appellant

No. 89-15882.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted Nov. 2, 1990.* Decided Dec. 5, 1990.

Before SCHROEDER, WIGGINS and LEAVY, Circuit Judges.


Paul Chew appeals the district court's denial of his motion for summary judgment and the granting of appellee's motion for summary judgment. Chew is the owner of a motor home which was searched by federal officials on April 9, 1988. The search revealed marijuana and the motor home was seized. Chew challenges the district court's determination that he lacks standing to challenge the search of his motor home. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.

Appellant drove his motor home from California to Tucson, Arizona to visit a friend, Jesse Rosales. While in Tucson, the motor home developed mechanical problems and was taken to a local automobile repair shop. Chew returned to California, leaving the motor home in Tucson to be repaired. Chew authorized Rosales to pick up the motor home and to use it until Chew could return to Tucson. Rosales picked up the motor home from the repair shop, and, two to three days later, federal agents executed a search warrant on Rosales' property and searched the motor home.

The sole issue before this court is Chew's standing to challenge the search of his vehicle. Where the facts are not in dispute, we review the question of standing de novo. U.S. v. Echegoyen, 799 F.2d 1271, 1277 (9th Cir. 1986). To establish standing, Chew must have a legitimate expectation of privacy in the motor home. Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 148 (1978). Although ownership of a vehicle is a factor to be considered in determining whether an individual has a privacy interest, it is not determinative. U.S. v. One 1977 Mercedes Benz, 708 F.2d 444, 449 (9th Cir. 1983), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1071 (1984).

This case is controlled by One 1977 Mercedes Benz in which this court found that the owner of a vehicle lacked the necessary privacy interest to challenge a search of the vehicle where she had turned it over to another person for his exclusive use. Id. at 449. The owner made no attempt to safeguard her privacy interest when authorizing the person to use the car. Id. Similarly, it is undisputed that Chew authorized Rosales to use his motor home exclusively for an unspecified period of time. Although the authorization was a result of the vehicle's mechanical problems, we find that Chew relinquished his expectation of privacy in the motor home. He therefore has no standing to challenge the search of the motor home.

Chew argues that U.S. v. Mulligan, 488 F.2d 732 (9th Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 417 U.S. 930 (1974), controls this case. However, Mulligan is factually distinguishable. The vehicle owner in Mulligan, while not in physical possession of the vehicle, did not authorize another person to use the automobile. See One 1977 Mercedes Benz, 708 F.2d at 449 n. 4.

The decision of the district court is AFFIRMED.


The panel finds this case appropriate for submission without argument pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 34(a) and 9th Cir.R. 34-4


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-3