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Maldonado v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

August 21, 2019


         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County; Glenn D. Kelley, Judge; L.T. Case No. 502003CF014680AXXXMB.

          Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and Peggy Natale, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Deborah Koenig, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          Kuntz, J.

         Robert Maldonado appeals his guilty adjudications and sentences following a revocation of probation hearing. The sole issue raised on appeal is whether the court erred when it denied his motion to suppress GPS monitoring evidence. We affirm the court's order denying the motion to suppress and the revocation of probation. But we remand for a written probation revocation order that specifies the probation provisions Maldonado violated.


         In 2006, Maldonado was sentenced to two concurrent terms of thirteen years in prison followed by four years of sex-offender probation for his guilty pleas to sexual battery with great force and armed burglary. The probation order did not include the factual findings necessary for the court to impose electronic monitoring under the 2006 version of section 948.30(2)(e), Florida Statutes (effective Jan. 1, 2006).[1]

         When Maldonado was released from prison, a probation data entry employee marked him as requiring a GPS electronic monitor. Based on the employee's notation, a GPS monitor was placed on Maldonado even though, at the time of sentencing, a probation officer did not recommend- and the circuit court did not order-an electronic monitor as a probation condition.

         After his release from prison, a violation of probation affidavit was filed alleging that Maldonado breached his probation when he violated his mandatory curfew and committed new law offenses of attempted felony murder, sexual battery, kidnapping, carjacking, home invasion robbery, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of contraband in a detention facility.

         Because the court had not ordered Maldonado to wear an electronic monitor, Maldonado argued any evidence obtained from the monitor was a Fourth Amendment violation and must be suppressed. In response to Maldonado's motion to suppress, the State argued the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applied and should preclude exclusion.

         The State called three witnesses at the hearing on the motion to suppress. A probation specialist testified that he supervised Maldonado for ten days after Maldonado's release from prison and that he reviewed the terms of the GPS monitor with Maldonado. He testified that, generally, another probation specialist and a prison employee review the relevant statute and sentencing order to determine whether an electronic monitor is required for the probationer. But, here, the probation specialist did not personally confirm that Maldonado was supposed to be on a monitor because he only had the case for a short period. He testified that he typically has a case for thirty days and reviews the file during that time. But Maldonado moved to Boca Raton only ten days after his release, and his case was assigned to a local probation officer.

         After Maldonado's move to Boca Raton, a probation officer took over the case from the probation specialist. The probation officer testified that, only after Maldonado's arrest for the new offenses, he learned Maldonado should not have been on the electronic monitor. He testified that a Department of Corrections classification officer made the initial mistake of placing Maldonado on an electronic monitor. The classification officer believed the victim of the sexual offense was a child and, if the victim had been a child, a GPS monitor was required under section 948.30(3)(a), Florida Statutes (effective Jan. 1, 2006).

         A detective with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office testified that he was asked to assist with an investigation of a sexual battery that occurred the prior night. He contacted the Department of Corrections to determine whether any recent sex-offender releasees in the Boca Raton area matched the description of a suspect in the sexual battery. The Department of Corrections told the detective that ...

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