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The People v. Michael Dale Woods Thompson

February 2, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
MICHAEL DALE WOODS THOMPSON, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. F4617)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Butz , J.

P. v. Thompson

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Convicted of vehicle theft (Veh. Code, § 10851, subd. (a))*fn1 and resisting a peace officer (Pen. Code, § 148, subd. (a)), defendant Michael Dale Woods Thompson was sentenced to an aggregate term of three years in state prison. On appeal, defendant contends the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained at the time of his arrest. Defendant argues law enforcement officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights when they arrested him within the curtilage of a home in which he had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

We conclude there was no objective expectation of privacy in the driveway in which defendant was arrested because the driveway was accessible to the general public and not intimately connected to the home. Accordingly, we shall affirm the judgment.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On May 27, 2009, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on the home of John Palmer looking for stolen property, including stolen vehicles. The officers also had an arrest warrant for Palmer. After failing to find Palmer, Detective Allen Serpa left the Palmer residence; several miles away, he saw a white Chevrolet Camaro IROC (IROC stands for the "International Race of Champions" model) driving at a high rate of speed. Having received information that a 1986 white Camaro IROC-Z28 may have been stolen, Serpa called Detectives Rick DiBasilio and Wade Whitney, still near the Palmer residence, and told them what he had seen.*fn2

Shortly after they received the call from Detective Serpa, Detectives DiBasilio and Whitney, who were parked on the side of the road in an unmarked car, observed a white Camaro IROC with the "T-top" off speed past them in the opposite direction. As the car sped past them, the detectives saw the car cross the double yellow line in the center of the road; they also saw that defendant, a known associate of Palmer's, was driving the car. DiBasilio and Whitney turned their car around and gave chase.

Detectives DiBasilio and Whitney immediately lost sight of the Camaro. They stopped outside of the sheriff's substation and talked to a man who said he had seen the Camaro speed by, heading eastbound. The detectives followed the path of the Camaro until they reached another individual who said he had not seen a white Camaro IROC go by in the last 10 or 15 minutes. By that time, Detective Serpa had caught up to DiBasilio and Whitney.

Parked on the side of the road near the home of Jim Guadagnolo, also a known associate of Palmer's, the three detectives agreed to go to Guadagnolo's house to look for defendant and the white Camaro IROC. Detective Serpa stopped to get his tactical vest from the back seat of his unmarked vehicle while Detectives DiBasilio and Whitney proceeded to Guadagnolo's house.

From the public road, the detectives drove through an open gate to a long, tear-shaped, dirt driveway. They did not see any "No Trespassing" signs. The detectives proceeded along the dirt driveway until they saw three cars near the Guadagnolo residence: two white Camaros and a silver Pontiac "Firebird." DiBasilio noted that one of the Camaros had its "T-top" off, just like the Camaro defendant was seen driving on the roadway. The hood of the Camaro was up and defendant was under the hood when the detectives parked their car.

Detectives DiBasilio and Whitney, wearing street clothes with the guns holstered at their hips and their badges attached to the holster, got out of their vehicle. As they did, defendant stood up and DiBasilio recognized him. Defendant closed the hood of the car and began walking toward the driver's side door; DiBasilio said "Sheriff's Department. Stop." Defendant did ...


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