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State v. Kenneth M. Sobczak, 2012 WI App 6, petition for review granted 6/13/12

on review of published decision; for: Sobczak: Andrew Hinckel, SPD, Madison Appellate; case activity

Third-Party Consent 

Issues (Composed by On Point): 

Whether Sobczak’s girlfriend, a non-resident guest in his parents’ home, had authority to consent to police entry into the home and to search and seizure of Sobczak’s laptop.

A mere guest ordinarily may not consent to a search of the home, the court of appeals acknowledged. But “the analysis is different when the guest is more than a casual visitor but instead has ‘the run of the house.'” ¶12, citing 4 Wayne R. LaFave, Search & Seizure, § 8.5(e) (4th ed. 2011). Sobczak’s girlfriend had mutual access to the house during the time in question and permission to use his laptop. Therefore, the court of appeals concluded, she “had authority to allow the officers to enter the residence and to search and seize Sobczak’s computer,” id.

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