Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of January 25, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Criminal Division at No.: CP-02-CR-0008477-2012
BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., WECHT, J., and STRASSBURGER, J. [*]
Daron Jackson ("Jackson") appeals his January 25, 2013 judgment of sentence. Jackson contends that his probation officer did not have reasonable suspicion to enter his residence, and that the evidence that resulted from that illegal entry should have been suppressed. After careful review, we agree with Jackson and, therefore, vacate the judgment of sentence, reverse the order denying suppression, and remand for further proceedings.
The trial court summarized the factual history as follows:
[ O]n May 30, 2012, Probation Officer Michael Maroni and his partner arrived at 7301 Kelly Street, Apartment 2 for the purpose of executing a compliance check. Officer Maroni had been supervising [ Jackson] for a few months, and after completing his April completing check, Officer Maroni referred [ Jackson] to the Day Reporting Center for assistance with a job search and his GED. During the April compliance check, Officer Maroni had smelled marijuana in the residence. [ Jackson] had been discharged from the Day Reporting Center for failure to m maintain his appointments, thus Officer Maroni initiated a compliance check to ensure that [ Jackson] was meeting the term s and conditions of his probation. The conditions of [ Jackson's] probation are that he was not permitted to use or possess any narcotics or firearms, he must obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation and obtain his GED.
Upon arriving at [ Jackson's] residence, [ Jackson's] girlfriend m et Officer Maroni and his partner at the door. Although he was familiar with [ Jackson's] girlfriend, Officer Maroni identified him self as being [ Jackson's] probation officer and asked if [ Jackson] was there. [ Jackson's] girlfriend then opened the door, turned and ran up the stairs into the living area of the apartment hollering [ Jackson's] name and announcing that his probation officer was here. Officer Maroni followed [ Jackson's] girlfriend up the stairs into the living area of the apartment, as he had a concern that [ Jackson] was concealing or destroying evidence of a crime. Immediately upon entering the residence, Officer Maroni could smell marijuana. When Officer Maroni arrived in the living area of the residence, he found [ Jackson] trying to "stuff a bag of – a big grocery bag underneath the couch. And he had a pair of scissors on the couch next to him and a bunch of baggies with marijuana residue all over the place." Given his experience, and the totality of the circumstances, Officer Maroni indicated he believed [ Jackson] was violating the term s of his probation.
Trial Court Opinion ("T.C.O."), 5/ 6/ 2013, at 2-3 (citations to notes of testimony omitted).
Jackson was charged with possession with intent to deliver ("PWID"), possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. On October 24, 2012, Jackson filed a motion to suppress, alleging that Officer Maroni did not have the reasonable suspicion necessary to justify entry into Jackson's residence. That motion was denied. The case proceeded to a non-jury trial. On January 25, 2013, Jackson was found guilty of possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia and acquitted of PWID. Jackson was sentenced to eighteen months of probation.
This appeal followed. Jackson was ordered to file, and timely filed, a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b).
On appeal, Jackson raises one issue:
Did the lower court abuse its discretion in denying Mr. Jackson's motion to suppress where his probation officer entered and searched his residence on a mere ...