WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police officers may enter and search a home without a warrant as long as one occupant consents, even if another resident has previously objected.
The case began with a lawsuit filed by Walter Fernandez, a Los Angeles man who was arrested in 2009 as a suspect in a street robbery and taken from his home to the police station. During the arrest, he refused to allow police to search his home.
Officers had knocked at the door and spoken to Roxanne Rojas, a woman he was living with. After his arrest, police returned an hour later and searched his apartment, this time with the consent of Rojas. They found a shotgun.
Fernandez is serving a 14-year prison term on robbery and gun charges.
In a 6-3 decision, the high court said Fernandez did not have a right to prevent the search of his apartment once Rojas had consented.