No Search Warrant Required Where Wife's Probation Agreement Allowed Search on Reasonable Suspicion; Evidentiary Objections Rejected

US v. Blake, No. 07-8050, 7/3/08 - Denial of motion to suppress affirmed. Defendant's wife was on probation in a state case. Her probation agreement included a consent to search provision based on reasonable suspicion. She tested dirty for meth, so the probation officer called the cops, who tell her they have information that probationer's husband, the defendant, has been selling meth. Off they go together to defendant's residence, where she was present with her husband. Defendant lets them in and awakens his wife. Search produces meth, scales, packaging, and cash. There was reasonable suspicion to search, and wife's consent to search in her probation agreement dispensed with the necessity for a warrant. The 10th rejects defendant's Georgia v. Randolph argument that he did not consent to the search for the simple reason that he did not object at the time he let them in or after they started searching, finding it unnecessary to address how that case might apply if he had.

The defendant proceeded to trial, and on appeal raised evidentiary claims, the main one being a challenge to the admission of expert testimony from a narc about drug dealer practices. 10th holds that the district court erred by not performing its gatekeeping function and making the findings on the record required by Rule 702, the error arising from the district court's doubts about whether the rule applied at all, but the error was harmless. The 10th also rejects defendant's challenge to the admission of a statement his wife made during the search about where money in the safe had come from, because it was admitted only to show inconsistencies in her and defendant's statements about the source of the money and was therefore not hearsay or subject to the Confrontation clause. Finally, the 10th spends little time rejecting defendant's objection to the introduction of plea agreements of government witnesses.