Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, April 10, 2015

Albury: Sufficient evidence to support probable cause independent of unlawful search

In U.S. v. Albury, No. 12-15183 (April 9, 2015), the Court affirmed drug trafficking convictions rejecting a Fourth Amendment challenge to the search of a hotel room. The Court acknowledged that a search warrant was based in part on a search that violated the Fourth Amendment. But the Court found that independent of the unlawful search, the affidavit contained sufficient evidence to support a finding of probable cause. Albury had resided in a room at the hotel, prior to moving to another room where the unlawful search occurred. Inside the vacated room, the police found cocaine powder residue, two cookies of crack cocaine and baggies with cocaine residue. This information provided probable cause to search the new room, and the testimony that the police supervisor would have sought a warrant to search this room even without the information from the unlawfully searched room showed a warrant would have been sought even without the unlawful entry. The Court also rejected Albury’s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, finding that he exercised control over both hotel rooms in which contraband was found. He was the only guest renting the rooms, and the only person whose personal effects were found inside.