In our April 20, 2021 post, we discussed People v. Pearson in which the court held that police could not search a defendant’s hospital room without a warrant because the defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his hospital room. (Can Police Search My Hospital Room Without a Warrant?)
But a later Illinois Appellate case shows how specific facts viewed by a particular judge can reach a different outcome. This is why it is important to hire an experienced attorney who is familiar with your courthouse and can present your facts in their best possible light to your specific judge.
In People v. Turner, after discussing the Pearson case, the court concluded that defendant Turner did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his hospital trauma room. Thus, police could seize any evidence in plain view without a warrant.
The Turner court looked at many of the same factors set out in our April 20 post. But in this case, the court decided that while defendant was legitimately present in the trauma room to seek medical treatment, none of the other factors weighed in his favor. The defendant did not own or have a possessory interest in or have prior use of the trauma room. The hospital, rather than the defendant, had control over the room and the ability to exclude others from it. Defendant was in the trauma room for two hours to be medically assessed. All told, this did not establish a legitimate expectation of privacy.
A slight change in the facts or a different judge hearing the same facts might have come to a different conclusion.
If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)