Colorado v. Stock

In 2011, a jury convicted Susan Stock of third degree burglary and theft for stealing money from vending machines at the hotel where she worked. The court of appeals reversed Stock’s convictions, concluding that the trial court erroneously denied Stock’s motion to suppress statements she made to a police officer who had entered the hotel room where she lived. Stock’s father, who was Stock’s invited guest in the room, had opened the door on Stock’s behalf in response to the officer’s knock, and moved aside to allow the officer to step a few feet inside the hotel-room door. The officer then requested and obtained Stock’s express permission to come further into the room to speak with her. The court of appeals reasoned that the police officer’s entry into the hotel room was unlawful because Stock’s father lacked authority to consent to the officer’s entry into the hotel room. In reviewing the court of appeals’ decision, the issue presented to the Colorado Supreme Court was whether the officer’s entry into Stock’s hotel room violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches. Importantly, this case did not require the Court to decide whether Stock’s father had authority to consent to a full-blown search of the room; rather, the narrower question was whether Stock’s father could consent to the officer’s limited entry a few feet inside the door. On the facts of this case, the Colorado Court concluded Stock conferred authority on her father to consent to the officer’s limited entry. The trial court therefore properly denied Stock’s motion to suppress, and her statements to the officer were admissible at trial. View "Colorado v. Stock" on Justia Law