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EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY IN BATHROOM STALL CAN BE VOIDED

Police officers entered a barber shop open to the public, during normal business hours with several patrons and employees in the shop. The officers proceeded to an area where two separate bathroom stalls (open to the public) were located. As a police officer knocked on the door of the bathroom waiting for its occupant (Appellant) to exit, another police officer stood in the adjoining, separate, unoccupied public bathroom, at which point a handgun, which the suppression court determined was thrown by Appellant, dislodged a ceiling tile and, ultimately, fell to the ground as the officer put his hand up to the ceiling.

Since the officer viewed the handgun from a place otherwise open to the public, and as a result of Appellant’s own action which caused the handgun to dislodge the ceiling tiles, the Superior Court  agreed with the suppression court that Appellant “failed to establish a subjective expectation of privacy…, much less one that society would accept as reasonable, such that the warrantless police entry implicated his own personal privacy rights.” Commonwealth v. Cruz, No. 2482 EDA 2016 (Pa. Super. July 18, 2017) 

CASE LINK: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Superior/out/J-S40011-17o%20-%2010317609021307749.pdf?cb=1

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