N.D.Ohio: SW affidavit was so bare bones it never showed nexus or particularity; no GFE

The affidavit for search warrant here failed to show nexus between defendant’s house and drug dealing. There was some suspicion involving others and a stale anonymous tip never corroborated. Nothing implicated defendant except that one co-defendant was driving defendant’s van on one trip. The warrant was literally so bare bones that the good faith exception did not apply. The search warrant also lacked particularity. United States v. Tucker, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72080 (N.D. Ohio May 11, 2017):

To summarize, the Saxon Affidavit says law enforcement suspected Columbus-area resident Rocha-Ayon of drug dealing. On January 15, 2017, Rocha-Ayon engaged in a suspected, but never confirmed, drug transaction at a truck stop near Columbus while using his white Infiniti. The Saxon Affidavit also says Rocha-Ayon had earlier come to Akron seven times over seven months, but the Affidavit gives no testimony that he engaged in drug transactions in those seven trips and gives no testimony that Rocha-Ayon had contact with Tucker or the Saxon location in those trips. The Saxon Affidavit is then limited to saying that Rocha-Ayon traveled to Saxon Avenue on February 17, 2017; that a van associated with Defendant Tucker came into the driveway after Rocha-Ayon arrived; that the van associated with Defendant Tucker left the Saxon Avenue house and then returned a short time later; and that Rocha-Ayon’s white Infiniti then left the driveway and returned to the Columbus area.

. . .

The Saxon Affidavit also describes a 2016 anonymous tip reporting drug activity at the Saxon house. But without supporting corroborating information, the tip gives nothing. And the vague and unsubstantiated 2016 tip is stale. “A warrant must be supported by ‘facts so closely related to the time of the issue of the warrant as to justify a finding of probable cause at that time.'”

. . .

The Court finds that both affidavits were so bare bones that it was objectively unreasonable for officers to rely on them. The Saxon and Penguin Affidavits only contained “suspicions, beliefs, or conclusions, without providing some underlying factual circumstances regarding veracity, reliability, and basis of knowledge.”

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