The Illinois Supreme Court on a warrantless search of a probationer’s home
On May 19, 2011, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that a probationer’s who prospectively agree to searches of his home while on probation may not then challenge the legal basis for such a search where contraband is seized.
In People of the State of Illinois v. Samuel Absher (Opinion 108441), the Court ruled that when Samuel Absher plead guilty to retail theft pursuant to a fully negotiated guilty plea when he received 2 years probation, the first of which was “intensive probation,” and he signed an acknowledgement that he was required ” ‘tobey and comply’ with the ‘rules and regulations of intensive probation supervision,’ including that he'(s)ubmit to searches of (his) person, residence, papers, automobile and/or effects at any time such requests are made by the Probation Officer, and consent to the use of anything seized as evidence in court proceedings.'” he waived his Fourth Amendment rights to complain when his Probation Officer searched his home and recovered illegal drugs.
The Court determined that although Absher had a diminished right to privacy under the plea agreement, he had freely “contracted” away that privacy, and had more privacy that the alternative disposition of a prison sentence.
This case is significant not only for its Fourth Amendment holding but also significant in that person’s who receive probation and sign the probation specifications should understand the full implication of the rights that they are relinquishing when receiving probation.