Magistrate may rely on opinion of officer as to location of contraband or other evidence when making probable cause determination for search warrant
|SEARCH & SEIZURE|
United States v. Biglow,
No. 08-3155, ___ F.3d ___ (10th Cir. Apr. 20, 2009)(Kansas).
Government appeal of district court’s order suppressing evidence in prosecution for drug and firearms violations.
HELD: District court erred by suppressing evidence by wrongly concluding that government’s search warrant affidavit failed to establish probable cause necessary to search defendant’s home. To establish nexus between suspected criminal activity and place to be searched sufficient to provide probable cause for search warrant, officer-affiant seeking warrant need not draw explicit connection between suspect’s activities and his residence. That is, nexus between place to be searched and suspected criminal activity requires neither hard evidence nor an officer’s personal knowledge of illegal activity at place to be searched. Rather, sufficient nexus is established once affidavit for search warrant describes circumstances that would cause person of reasonable caution to believe that articles sought are at particular place. Accordingly, magistrate judge may rely on opinion of law enforcement officers as to where contraband or other evidence may be kept such as officer’s statement that certain evidence – in his professional experience is likely to be found in a defendant’s residence (e.g., an officer’s observation that, in his professional experience, drug dealers often keep evidence related to their unlawful activities at home).
Read the opinion here.