Police officers entered a barber shop open to the public, during normal business hours with several patrons and employees in the shop. The officers proceeded to an area where two separate bathroom stalls (open to the public) were located. As a police officer knocked on the door of the bathroom waiting for its occupant (Appellant) to exit, another police officer stood in the adjoining, separate, unoccupied public bathroom, at which point a handgun, which the suppression court determined was thrown by Appellant, dislodged a ceiling tile and, ultimately, fell to the ground as the officer put his hand up to the ceiling.

Since the officer viewed the handgun from a place otherwise open to the public, and as a result of Appellant’s own action which caused the handgun to dislodge the ceiling tiles, the Superior Court  agreed with the suppression court that Appellant “failed to establish a subjective expectation of privacy…, much less one that society would accept as reasonable, such that the warrantless police entry implicated his own personal privacy rights.” Commonwealth v. Cruz, No. 2482 EDA 2016 (Pa. Super. July 18, 2017) 

CASE LINK: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Superior/out/J-S40011-17o%20-%2010317609021307749.pdf?cb=1

DISCLAIMER – The information contained in this article is for general guidance on the subject matter only. The application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. Given the changing nature of laws, rules and regulations, and the inherent hazards of electronic communication, there may be delays, omissions or inaccuracies in information in this article. Case summaries are primarily excerpted directly from the decisions authored by the Courts. The decisions are cited and linked and the reader is encouraged to read the entire decision. Accordingly, the information in this article is provided with the understanding that the authors and publishers are not herein engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice and services. As such, it should NOT be used as a substitute for consultation with a McMahon Winters Soto-Ortiz Law Firm attorney. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should always consult with a McMahon Winters Soto-Ortiz Law Firm attorney.