United States v. Walton, No. 14-1177 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Walton was a passenger in a rented Suburban driven by Smoot, when they were pulled over by an Illinois state trooper. According to the trooper, the two were nervous and gave an implausible description of their travel plans. The trooper decided to extend the stop for 20 minutes so that a police canine could smell around the car. The dog allegedly alerted. Troopers searched the vehicle and found seven kilograms of cocaine. At the time, Walton was on parole in Kentucky, with a condition that he could not leave that state without permission. He was subject to searches by his parole officer. Walton was indicted for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He moved to suppress the narcotics, arguing that he was subject to search only by his parole officer, not by a law-enforcement officer who was ignorant of his parole status, and offering evidence that his license was valid.. The district court denied the motion, finding that Walton lacked a subjective expectation of privacy because he knew he was in violation of his parole and had rented the vehicle without a valid license, in violation of the rental agreement. Walton entered a conditional plea. The Seventh Circuit reversed. Walton’s alleged illegal acts did not deprive him the opportunity to vindicate his privacy interests against a government search and seizure of his rental vehicle.