CA6: Nexus not shown by old and speculative information

The showing of nexus to defendant’s house for drug dealing was wholly insufficient: (1) a suspected drug dealer once parked there, (2) the owner had a 17 year old conviction for drugs, and (3) a four month old uncorroborated tip. Therefore, the good faith exception does not apply. United States v. Tucker, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 21915 (6th Cir. Aug. 7, 2018):

The Saxon Avenue affidavit is a prototypical example of a bare-bones affidavit. Stripped down to its basics, the affidavit asserts that evidence of drug trafficking would be found at the Saxon Avenue residence because (1) a suspected drug dealer once parked in the driveway for a brief period of time, (2) the house’s owner had a 17-year-old conviction for possession with intent to distribute, and (3) a four-month-old, seemingly unverified, apparently anonymous tip suggested that drug dealing may have occurred there. Given that all reasonably well-trained officers must be presumed to know that “‘a suspect’s mere presence … at a residence is too insignificant a connection with that residence to establish that relationship’ necessary to a finding of probable cause,” Savoca, 761 F.2d at 297 (quoting United States v. Flores, 679 F.2d 173, 175 (9th Cir. 1982)); cf. United States v. Helton, 314 F.3d 812, 825 (6th Cir. 2003) (“A reasonable officer knows that evidence of three calls a month to known drug dealers from a house … falls well short of establishing probable cause that the house contains evidence of a crime.”), and because the remaining evidence is not probative of drug trafficking at the residence, it was objectively unreasonable for the executing officers in this case to believe that their conduct comported with the Fourth Amendment.

. . .

Contrary to the government’s assertion, no reasonably well-trained officer could draw such conclusions based upon the particularized facts in the affidavit; rather, the officers speculated based upon hunches (albeit, good hunches, as their suspicions proved correct). To see why, it helps to note what is absent from the Saxon Avenue affidavit. It does not contain any indication of drug dealing at the residence. Nor does the affidavit provide any specific basis for concluding that Rocha-Ayon was transporting drugs to that location when he was arrested on February 19. Furthermore, it tells us nothing about the relationship between Rocha-Ayon and Tucker. And, most importantly, it does not mention what Rocha-Ayon did once he arrived at the residence on February 17. For all that appears (and he was under surveillance), Rocha-Ayon sat quietly in his car, interacted with no one, and neither retrieved nor left anything at the address. Rocha-Ayon’s purchase of drug-trafficking paraphernalia-i.e., the vacuum sealer and bags-therefore cannot constitute evidence of criminality at the Saxon Avenue residence because there is no indication that they ever left his car, let alone that they made their way into the residence.

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