Key Phrases: Anticipatory Warrant, Good-Faith Exception to Exclusionary Rule
This case provides a great example of the concepts presented with what is called an “anticipatory warrant.” If you are not familiar with the concept, anticipatory warrants are search warrants that are signed by a judge that only become valid upon a future “triggering event” that is expected to happen in a manner described in the warrant application. In this particular case, the triggering event was a controlled buy from the defendant. The warrant authorized a search of the defendant’s home if the controlled buy went down as expected based on the information provided by reliable confidential informants. When a magistrate conditions a warrant on a triggering event, there must be probable cause established that the event will take place. Furthermore, in order to search a dwelling for evidence based on criminal activity that takes place outside of the house, there must be probable cause to show a nexus between the dwelling and the criminal evidence they wish to search the house for. But the court punted this issue and did not make a decision on the merits of the probable cause requirements. Instead, the court stated: “We need not enter these frothy waters and pass on the validity of this warrant because the government met the Leon good-faith exception anyway.” So, they affirmed the District Court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence on Leon Good-Faith grounds.
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