D.S.D.: Issuing magistrate wasn’t a “rubber stamp” for the police by failing to question affiant where PC otherwise shown

The fact the issuing magistrate didn’t question the tribal officer to supplement the affidavit doesn’t make the magistrate a “rubber stamp” for the police conclusion. The affidavit showed probable cause and it was not unreasonable to rely on it. Defendant didn’t show that he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the place searched to have standing. United States v. Waln, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199684 (D. S.D. Dec. 5, 2017):

The defendants also argue that the good-faith exception is inapplicable because the tribal judge abandoned his judicial role by acting as a “rubber stamp” for the police. According to the defendants, the tribal judge must have acted as a rubber stamp because the affidavit failed to establish probable cause and the judge never questioned Agent Sedlmajer. However, the defendants’ probable cause assertion is merely “another way of phrasing the argument that no one who relied upon the affidavit could have been objectively reasonable, an argument that [this Court] has already rejected.” United States v. Sager, 743 F.2d 1261, 1267 (8th Cir. 1984); see also United States v. Clark, 638 F.3d 89, 101 (2d Cir. 2011) (“[L]egal error by the issuing judge in identifying probable cause does not, by itself, indicate the sort of wholesale abandonment of the judicial role discussed in Leon.”). And while the tribal judge should have been more demanding of Agent Sedlmajer, his failure to ask any questions does not alone justify finding that the judge acted as a rubber stamp. See Hallam, 407 F.3d at 946 (rejecting argument that magistrate judge who was “anxious” to return to bed and did not ask any questions about a search warrant had abandoned his judicial role). The defendants have not shown that the tribal judge was biased or impartial, and the evidence undercuts any claim that the judge blindly approved the warrant without any consideration. Indeed, before issuing the warrant, the tribal judge received the affidavit and then had Agent Sedlmajer read it aloud. Compare United States v. Tagbering, 985 F.2d 946, 951 (8th Cir. 1993) (rejecting argument that issuing judge’s “five-minute perusal” of an affidavit “was no more than a rubber stamp approval”), with United States v. Decker, 956 F.2d 773, 777 (8th Cir. 1992) (finding that a judge had abandoned his judicial role because, among other problems, he signed a warrant without reading it or the accompanying affidavit). At bottom, the record does not justify finding that the tribal judge wholly abandoned his judicial role.

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