CA11: Franks challenge fails; officer’s frank admission of mistake [apparently] helped show mere negligence in including it

The mistake in the affidavit was just negligent and it didn’t undermine the probable cause at all. Besides that, there was an independent source for all the information in the warrant that was probable cause. United States v. Reddick, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21478 (11th Cir. Oct. 30, 2017). On the Franks challenge, the officer’s admission of the mistake was apparently important, but it was hardly reckless in any event:

Even if the affidavit could not establish probable cause without inclusion of the misstatement, it was not made with deliberate falsity or reckless disregard for the truth. The district court correctly pointed out that the “truth—that Reddick had rented out Room 212 and [Christine] Thurman had rented out Room 211, and that Reddick and Thurman were in some way together—was hardly less incriminating” than the misstatement. The district court also credited Osborn, the officer who wrote the affidavit, for his “forth-rightness in acknowledging the mistake.” See Ramirez-Chilel, 289 F.3d at 749. And Reddick failed to provide any evidence that the misstatement was more than an innocent or negligent mistake. Thus, the district court did not clearly err in finding that the misstatement was not made with deliberate falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.

The district court properly removed from the affidavit all references to evidence arguably seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment. This included the minor’s Florida ID card and school identification card. The misstatement did not need to be removed from the affidavit.

After all the necessary information is excised from the search warrant affidavit, we must determine whether the remaining information is enough to support a probable cause finding. Probable cause exists when “there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.” Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238, 103 S. Ct. 2317, 2332, 76 L. Ed. 2d 527 (1983).

Here, the facts remaining in the affidavit include: (1) a minor was engaging in prostitution in a room without any personal belongings, (2) the room and the room across the hall were paid for by Reddick, and (3) Reddick’s phone was used to place online ads for sexual encounters with the minor. We agree with the district court that these facts support probable cause. See United States v. Albury, 782 F.3d 1285, 1292 (11th Cir. 2015) (stating that although a probable cause determination is subject to plenary review, we must give great deference to a lower court’s determination that the totality of the circumstances supported a finding of probable cause).

Finally, we conclude that the district court did not clearly err in finding that the officers’ decision to seek the warrant for Room 212 was not prompted by what he learned from the arguably illegal search. Officers made clear while interviewing the minor—much of which occurred before the entry into Room 212—that they intended to get a search warrant for that room and any other room in order to find evidence. Also, officers had probable cause before entering Room 212, as shown by the correctly excised affidavit. We cannot say that the district court’s finding was clearly erroneous. Thus, the district court did not err when it determined that the evidence seized after a potentially illegal search was admissible under the independent source doctrine. Accordingly, we affirm.

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