Suppression of evidence discovered upon entry into defendants’ residence based on arrest warrant for third party believed to reside there; standard of review of suppression court’s finding of fact concerning grant of permission to enter residence
(1) Whether, in view of Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980) and Steagald v. U.S., 451 U.S.204 (1981) evidence including 61 marijuana plants discovered upon entry into defendants’ residence based on arrest warrant for third party believed to reside there, and other evidence obtained through subsequent search warrant issued on the basis of initial search, should have been suppressed; and (2) whether Superior Court was bound by suppression court’s finding of fact that authorities did not have express permission to enter defendants’ residence while attempting to execute arrest warrant for third party believed to reside there.
Suppression court granted Angel Romero’s and Wendy Castro’s (h/w) motions to suppress evidence uncovered as a result of a search of their Philadelphia residence by Romero’s brother’s parole agent who was attempting to execute an arrest warrant for Romero’s brother whom agent believed resided with Romero and Castro; on the basis of Commonwealth’s interlocutory appeal as of right pursuant to Pa. R.A.P 311(d), Superior Court reversed and remanded for trial on drug and related charges. Parole officer testified that he believed parolee resided with Romero and Castro because parolee had previously used their address on Board of Probation and Parole forms and an expired driver’s license; suppression court concluded belief was not reasonable. Parole officer testified that Romero and Castro did not say either “yes” or “no” when asked if their premises could be searched, but protested when authorities made it clear they intended to search the basement of the residence where marijuana plants were located.