E.D.Pa.: Affidavit for CP didn’t show PC, but GFE still applies

The affidavit for this child pornography search warrant was conclusory as to alleged sexual activity of minors and did not show probable cause. It was, however, not so devoid of a showing that it wasn’t reasonable to rely on it for the good faith exception. United States v. Fager, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34876 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 5, 2018):

After a careful review of all the circumstances, the Court concludes that Detective Ritter acted in objective good faith and that the warrant was not so lacking in indicia of probable cause as to render official belief in the existence of probable cause entirely unreasonable. In reaching this result, the Court notes that the Supreme Court has stated that the “costs” associated with suppression are “substantial,” Leon, 468 U.S. at 907, given that suppression “often excludes ‘reliable, trustworthy evidence of a defendant’s guilt, ‘suppress[es] the truth and set[s] [a] criminal loose in the community without punishment.'” Katzin, 769 F. 3d at 186 (quoting Davis, 564 U.S. at 237). There is no question that the government has substantial evidence against the defendant and that without this evidence, the most serious, if not all, the charges would have to be dismissed.

In short, the Court finds that Detective Ritter’s actions were not “sufficiently deliberate that exclusion can meaningfully deter [them], and sufficiently culpable that such deterrence is worth the price paid by the justice system.” Herring, 555 U.S. at 144. Defendant has failed to satisfy the “high threshold” of showing that the first warrant for the search of his home “was based on an affidavit so lacking in probable cause as to render official belief in its existence entirely unreasonable.” Hodge, 246 F 3d at 307-308. Detective Ritter and the other officers reasonable relied on this warrant in good faith. Since the Court has ruled that the second warrant (initial warrant for defendant’s home) is saved by the good faith exception, the Court finds that the remaining warrants which relied in large part on the items seized as a result of the initial search of defendant’s home contained sufficient probable cause and the defendant’s motion to suppress is denied.

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