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Warrant Probable Cause Affidavit

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 3:10 PM
Warrant Probable Cause Affidavit: Why its Important. Police make a lawful traffic stop of the defendant, Rabb. They have a tip from an unknown informant that Rabb has a marijuana operation in his home. Once stopped and asked out of his car, cops find marijuana growing books, a video tape on the subject and marijuana cigarettes.  Based on that information the cops go to Rabb’s home and walk a drug-sniffing dog up to the front door. The dog alerts to drugs, after which the cops detect the odor of marijuana inside the house. The cops take all the information from the traffic stop along with the information gathered at the house and use it to apply for a search warrant. The warrant is issued and over 60 marijuana plants are found in the house. ISSUE: Did the use of a drug dog at Rabb’s house constitute an impermissible search under the fourth amendment, making the information gained there from unusable in the application for a search warrant? Was there enough independent and legally obtained evidence in the warrant application to provide probable cause for the issuance of the warrant? RULE: Evidence resulting from an illegal search cannot be the basis of probable cause supporting a subsequent search warrant. The use of a dog sniff to detect contraband inside a house does not pass constitutional muster. The dog sniff at the house in this case constitutes an illegal search.The inclusion of illegally obtained evidence in the supporting affidavit, where the affidavit contains other valid allegations sufficient to establish probable cause, does not invalidate a search warrant. The trial court's duty is to excise the invalid allegations and determine whether the independent and lawfully obtained information demonstrates probable cause. Conclusion:(Here) No independent and lawfully obtained evidence establishes the probable cause necessary to support the issuance of a search warrant for Rabb's house. Summary: A search warrant cannot be based on evidence that was obtained illegally. The home is afforded heightened protection under the fourth amendment and so cops cannot simply bring a drug dog to your home to scan the outside of the premises hoping to detect things inside. If you possess any “questionable materials” leave them at home, don’t ride with them in your car. 

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