E.D.Mich.: PC shown for records of the last number a murder victim called

Defendant’s cell phone number being the last number a murder victim called was at least a minimally sufficient basis for a search warrant for cell phone records to see who it was. It was also at least supported by the good faith exception. Moreover, the government showed by a preponderance of the evidence that the CSLI on the phone would have been inevitably discovered in 2016. United States v. Robinson, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8617 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 18, 2019). As to the phone number:

Detective Manzella’s affidavit in support of the search warrant application tied the phone number to the murder in that it was the last number to call the victim’s phone. A reasonable, holistic, reading of the affidavit leads the court to draw obvious inferences, including that the three cell phones were found near the victim, that they were connected to the victim, that the last phone call to the victim from 313-948-8079 was in close proximity to the time of the shooting, and that the last phone number to call the victim was a “target telephone” important to the murder investigation because it might belong to the perpetrator or an associate involved in the shooting. The application shows some connection, at least a minimally sufficient basis, between the murder and the phone records sought.

In this case, the search warrant application was not so lacking in indicia of probable cause as to render reliance on the warrant objectively unreasonable. A neutral and detached state court judge reviewed and signed the warrant application after it was signed off on by the prosecutor. Moreover, there is no evidence that Detective Manzella engaged in the type of “deliberate, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct” that the courts have found to warrant suppression of evidence. Even if probable cause does not support the search warrant issued in this case, the court finds that the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule applies.

This entry was posted in Good faith exception, Inevitable discovery, Probable cause. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.