D.D.C.: Two story building with barbershop on first floor and residence above appeared to officers as one structure for SW purposes

The building searched was two stories. Defendants argued that the first floor was a barbershop and the second floor was a “warren of rooms” which were residential in character. Thus, two search warrants were required. The court disagrees because the objective evidence to the officers obtaining the search warrant was that it was one indivisible premises. Moreover, the good faith exception applies. United States v. Fields, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15952 (D.D.C. Feb. 1, 2019):

Defendants’ argument suffers from two problems. For starters, it rests on the false premise the second-floor rooms constitute a separate “place to be searched” for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. U.S. Const. amend. IV. All the evidence is to the contrary. According to the warrant affidavit, the Premises is identified by one address—2408 MLK, Jr. Ave., S.E.—and is owned as a unitary whole by a single person. See Gov’t Resp., Ex. 1, ECF No. 95-1 [hereinafter Gov’t Ex.], at 42 ¶ 42. The Premises is zoned for a business purpose. See id. And the electric utility, PEPCO, bills “for the entirety” of the Premises. See id. In addition, a photograph of the Premises shows it to be a two-story brick building with only one set of numerals—”2408″—appearing on the façade. See id. at 5. These facts are unchallenged. To be sure, the Premises has two different doors, each of which opens directly onto the sidewalk—one for the barbershop and one for the second floor—but that feature alone, without more, does not establish separate “places” for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Defendants cite no authority and present no facts that would cause the court to conclude otherwise. Accordingly, law enforcement did not violate the Fourth Amendment by seeking only a single warrant for the Premises.

Even if each floor of the Premises did demand its own warrant, the “good faith” exception would foreclose suppression. See United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 913, 920-22 (1984). The magistrate judge signed a warrant for the entirety of the Premises and, absent an applicable exception, law enforcement was entitled to rely on that determination. See id. Defendants seek to rebut the good-faith exception in two ways. First, they argue that the affidavit contains a dishonest statement about the Premises, and they ask the court to hold an evidentiary hearing to consider the alleged dishonesty, i.e., a Franks hearing. See Def. Fields’ Reply to Gov’t Resp., ECF No. 104 [hereinafter Def.’s Reply], at 10-11, 15. See Leon, 468 U.S. at 926 (stating that the good-faith exception does not apply if “the officers were dishonest or reckless in preparing their affidavit”). Second, they contend that the warrant was overbroad insofar as it sweeps in the second floor of the Premises, and a reasonable officer would have understood, based on the facts presented in the affidavit, that the Premises was in fact two separate places requiring separate warrants. Def.’s Reply at 6-11, 14. See Leon, 468 U.S. at 926 (stating that the good-faith exception does not apply where officers “could not have harbored an objectively reasonable belief in the existence of probable cause”); United States v. Griffin, 867 F.3d 1265, 1278 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (declining to apply good-faith exception to obviously overbroad warrant). Neither of these exceptions to the good-faith principle applies.

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