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Second Circuit Review: Apartment-Dwellers May Have a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Shared Spaces

May 25, 2023

Litigation of counsel Martin Flumenbaum and firm Chairman Brad Karp’s latest Second Circuit Review column, “Apartment-Dwellers May Have a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Shared Spaces,” appeared in the May 25 issue of the New York Law Journal. The authors discuss a decision addressing whether the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure extends to the warrantless search of a shared back porch of a multiunit dwelling. The unanimous opinion in United States v. Lewis affirmed the district court’s denial of the motion to suppress the recovered evidence, but declined to adopt a categorical rule that occupants of multiunit dwellings have no reasonable expectation of privacy in shared spaces. The decision, which was careful not to draw distinctions between residents of apartments and those in single-family homes, shows that those seeking to suppress a warrantless search on grounds of a reasonable expectation of privacy in a shared space should take care to develop a robust set of individualized facts regarding their use of the shared space. Litigation associates Kristina Bunting and Chloe Lewis assisted in the preparation of this column.

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