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The 4th: In the home of another

If a person is inside their own home, then most likely they have an expectation of privacy there.[1] But what about when an individual is in someone else’s home that they have resided at in the past?

The U.S. Supreme Court and S.C. Supreme Court have used a type of “totality of the circumstances” test to determine if the individual has standing.[2]

Case Law

“In the present case, Missouri and Curtis testified that they had grown up together and were ‘good friends.’ Missouri had frequently visited the Siberts' apartment in the past and occasionally spent the night. Missouri described the Sibert home as a place to ‘get away’ and as a place to ‘find comfort.’ At times, Missouri had a key to the Siberts' apartment and kept a change of clothes there. He paid nothing to use the apartment and was there for at least seven hours on the day of the search.

By choosing to share the privacy of their home with Missouri on several occasions in the past and on the occasion in question, both the Siberts and Missouri demonstrated a subjective expectation of privacy, and that expectation, we hold, is one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable.”

State v. Missouri, 361 S.C. 107, 115 (2004)

“In determining whether the criminal defendant met his burden, courts may consider factors such as:

a. whether the defendant owned the home or had property rights to it;

b. whether he was an overnight guest at the home;

c. whether he kept a change of clothes at the home;

d. whether he had a key to the home;

e. whether he had dominion and control over the home and could exclude others from the home;

f. how long he had known the owner of the home;

g. how long he had been at the home;

h. whether he attempted to keep his activities in the home private;

i. whether he engaged in typical domestic activities at the home, or whether he treated it as a commercial establishment;

j. whether he alleged a proprietary or possessory interest in the premises and property seized (even if only at a motion to suppress, where that admission cannot be used against him to determine his guilt); and

k. whether he paid rent at the home.”

State v. Robinson, 410 S.C. 519, 528–30 (2014)

[1] State v. Robinson, 410 S.C. 519, 528–30 (2014)

[2] State v. Missouri, 361 S.C. 107, 115 (2004); State v. Robinson, 410 S.C. 519, 528–30 (2014)


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