Can police legally search the home of an occupant who consents to the search despite the objections of another present occupant?
In this case the Supreme Court will resolve the issue of whether or not police can legally search the home of an occupant who consents to a search despite the explicit objections of another occupant. Police searched the house of Mr. Randolph with the consent of his estranged wife but against his unequivocal objections. Randolph would have the Court find that the search violated his reasonable expectation of privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Georgia, however, reasons that a joint tenant's reasonable expectation of privacy is not infringed in this case because joint tenants assume a reduced expectation of privacy. Thus, the Supreme Court's decision in this case will interpret the scope of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches of homes with multiple occupants.
Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties
Can police search a home when a co-habitant consents and the other co-habitant is present and does not consent?
On July 6, 2001, police arrived at the Randolph residence after Mrs. Randolph reported a domestic dispute with her estranged husband, Defendant Scott Randolph. Randolph v. State, 590 S.E.2d 834, 836 (Georgia, 2003). The couple had separated two months earlier, and Mrs. Randolph left the home at that time with their son to Canada. Id.