(CN) – Police have no right to search the homes and cars of a criminal suspect’s relatives simply because they’re related, the 10th Circuit ruled.
After the murder of a Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy, police obtained warrants to search the house of the parents-in-law of the main suspect, Michael Paul Astorga. They also searched his sister-in-law’s car.
The Denver-based federal appeals court said this violated the in-laws’ constitutional rights against unlawful search and seizure.
“Although we are sympathetic to the urgency of the officers’ search for Astorga, we conclude that these actions violated the Fourth Amendment,” Judge Lucero wrote.
“Adhering to established Supreme Court precedent and the unanimous case law of this and other courts, we hold that a familial relationship is insufficiently particularized to justify invading an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy.”