PA: Nexus not shown for house, and no GFE under state law: def arrested blocks from home with firearm, and that doesn’t mean more at home

Defendant shot at a cop and committed other felonies. He was sentenced to 66-132 years. He was arrested as a prohibited person with a firearm blocks from his home. The state showed no nexus to the house for other evidence of firearms for a search warrant of the house. The good faith exception under the Pennsylvania Constitution is more scrupulously applied than under Leon. Commonwealth v. Torres, 2017 PA Super 408, 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 1083 (Dec. 22, 2017):

… Here, in contrast, the warrant sought “[h]andguns, rifles, shotguns, ammunition, gun storage boxes/containers, holsters, proof of identification, any items of evidentiary value.” Warrant #176023. Unlike Jones, in this case it is unclear how any of the items specified in the warrant were of any evidentiary value. Appellant’s identification was not in doubt, and police already were in possession of the firearm used in the shooting. Said another way, there is no obvious nexus between the crimes under investigation and the proposed search.

In Pennsylvania, the nexus requirement comes from Pennsylvania’s long-standing history of protecting its citizens’ privacy under Article 1, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Our Supreme Court reviewed that history in Commonwealth v. Edmunds, 586 A.2d 887 (Pa. 1991). There, our Supreme Court considered whether to adopt the “good faith” exception to the exclusionary rule. Id. at 888. In United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984), the United States Supreme Court concluded that evidence gathered during a “good faith” execution of a defective search warrant need not be excluded from evidence. The Edmunds Court distinguished Pennsylvania jurisprudence, and its historic focus on the right to privacy under Article 1, Section 8, from the Leon Court’s conclusion that the federal exclusionary rule was designed to deter unscrupulous police conduct.

Not mentioned is the box the gun came in, because I’ve had that happen in a few cases. If you’ve got the gun, the box it was sold or stored in logically would be at your house. In Pennsylvania, then, that might still be speculative and logically so.

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