The Second Department determined evidence seized from defendant’s home and statements made by the defendant should have been suppressed. Using the authority to visit parolees, the police accompanied the parole officer to defendant’s home as part of a burglary investigation. The defendant was arrested after stolen property was noticed by the police in the home. In determining the trial court erred when it found defendant had consented to the entry of the police into his home, the court wrote:
When the People rely on consent to justify an otherwise unlawful police intrusion, they bear the “heavy burden” of establishing that such consent was freely and voluntarily given … . “Consent to search is voluntary when it is a true act of the will, an unequivocal product of an essentially free and unconstrained choice. Voluntariness is incompatible with official coercion, actual or implicit, overt or subtle” … . The People’s burden of proving voluntariness “cannot be discharged by showing no more than acquiescence to a claim of lawful authority” … .
We agree with the defendant that the People failed to prove that his consent to the entry into his home was voluntary. Consent is not voluntary where an officer falsely represents facts that normally establish the exercise of police authority to which a person would ordinarily yield … . Here, pursuant to the conditions of the defendant’s release to parole supervision, he was obligated to allow his parole officer to enter his home to conduct a home visit and conduct a related search of his residence. The People showed no more than the defendant’s acquiescence to this authority, which does not sustain their burden of proving that he freely and voluntarily consented to the entry by the detectives and the sergeant for the purpose of investigating the subject burglaries. People v Marcial, 2013 NY Slip Op 05920, 2nd Dept 9-18-13