Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Good Faith Saves Search Based on Anticipatory Warrant

US v. Andrews: Andrews was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm after officers recovered a gun during the search of his home pursuant to a warrant. The warrant was issued after a package was intercepted at the local FedEx depot that contained marijuana. Although it was not addressed to Andrews (by name or by street address), circumstances, including a call from the shipper modifying the address (still not Andrews's), led officers to believe it was meant for him. They obtained an anticipatory search warrant set to become effective once Andrews took delivery of the box. Andrews took delivery of the box, took it inside briefly, and then took it to another nearby home. He was arrested at that point and the search, which uncovered the gun, took place.

As before the district court, on appeal Andrews argued that the search of his home violated the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Circuit disagreed (as did the district court, obviously) and affirmed his conviction. Applying Leon, the court concluded that the facts presented to the issuing magistrate were not so deficient such that they clearly failed to establish probable cause or that the magistrate acted merely as a rubber stamp for the officer. The court also rejected Andrews's argument that the officer who obtained the warrant had misled the issuing magistrate by leaving out relevant information about the location of the search.

No comments: