United States v. Caya, No. 19-2469 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Police, checking on Thomas, who was unconscious in her car, called for paramedics. While waiting, they found a methamphetamine pipe in the car. At the hospital later, Thomas stated that she had used methamphetamine; that she and her live-in boyfriend obtained it together; that she kept her meth pipes at home; and that she had two children, a one-year-old and a 14-year-old. She was initially confused about where they were. The officers requested a welfare check. Caya answered the door, apparently under the influence of drugs. Sergeant Miller knew that Caya was on extended supervision for a felony conviction and subject to Wisconsin Statutes section 302.113(7r), which authorizes officers to search the person, home, or property of an offender released to extended supervision if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the offender is involved in criminal activity or is violating a condition of his supervision. Caya told the officers that he and Thomas were clean and that Thomas’s children were with their grandmother in Dubuque. The officers initiated a search and found Thomas’s one-year-old child in the living room; they later recovered drug paraphernalia, cash, several loaded rifles and handguns, and 350 grams of meth.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of Caya's motion to suppress. Criminal offenders on community supervision have significantly diminished expectations of privacy because of the government’s strong interest in preventing recidivism. The Supreme Court has held that a law-enforcement officer may search a person on parole without any suspicion of criminal activity. A search under section 302.113(7r), which requires reasonable suspicion, is constitutionally permissible.