US v. Jones: Jones was pulled over by a Martinsburg, West Virginia, police officer for driving on a suspended license. In the wake of this, Jones took to social media and made repeated claims such as that he was “on a cop manhunt,” was looking for that officer in particular, and warning officers (whom he called “pigs”) not to come to his home because he was “going to pull this trigger, bang, bye” and that they should “be careful.” Officers got a warrant to search Jones’ home looking for evidence of the West Virginia offense of making “terrorist threats,” and found ammunition. Jones was charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition and unsuccessfully moved to have that ammunition suppressed.
The Fourth Circuit affirmed the denial of Jones’s motion to suppress. First, the court rejected the argument that the warrant application did not sufficiently allege that Jones had committed the particular West Virginia offense, relying on two state supreme court decisions to conclude that his alleged conduct fell within its ambit. Second, the court rejected the argument that Jones was entitled to a Franks hearing on the basis of the omission of other social media posts that showed that Jones was not a threat to officers, but was rather suicidal. Although that understanding of those statements was “implausible on its face,” the court nonetheless held that even if they could be read that way and included in the warrant application there was still probable cause to issue the warrant.