Thank you. Several years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Knights, held that, to conduct a non-consensual search of a probationer’s home for ordinary law enforcement purposes under limited expectations of privacy, it is only necessary to show reasonable suspicion that the probationer is engaged in criminal activity.
Recently, the Fifth Circuit Court
of Appeals decided a case that involved a “walk through” of a probationer’s home that was based, not upon reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, but rather upon a Louisiana statute that authorized home verification visits of probationers. In the United States v. LeBlanc, LeBlanc’s probation officer went to his home, to conduct a home visit, which was authorized under Louisiana statute, if conducted at reasonable times and intervals. The probation officer informed LeBlanc, who was a convicted felon, that he was there to conduct a home visit and asked if he could “look around.” The probation officer testified that LeBlanc did not object and showed him around the entire house. The home visit, in its entirety, only lasted for about ten minutes and the probation officer did not physically move anything, open drawers, or inspect personal belongings. However, when they entered LeBlanc’s bedroom, the probation officer observed, in plain view, a .410 shotgun which he seized as evidence of LeBlanc’s probation violation.
Later, LeBlanc moved to suppress the gun, alleging that it was seized during an unlawful search, because the search exceeded the permissible scope of a home visit without reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct. The district denied the motion to suppress
and LeBlanc appealed.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals first noted that the Supreme Court has recognized a “continuum” of expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment for probationers based upon the degree of punishment that a defendant is subjected to. Therefore, a court granting a defendant probation can impose reasonable conditions that deprive that defendant of some freedom that is enjoyed by law abiding citizens.
This means that courts can impose reasonable restrictions upon liberty and privacy in order to ensure that the probation serves as a period of genuine rehabilitation and that the community is not harmed by the probationer’s being free. v “Supervision, then, is a ‘special need’ of the State which permits a degree of impingement upon the privacy that would not be constitutional if applied to the public at large.”
From the facts that you described, the probation officer did nothing illegal.
Good luck and best wishes! I hope that you find this information to be helpful and this answer to be ACCEPTable!