CA7: State law violation for tracking warrant not a 4A violation

Defendant was tracked by a state issued tracking warrant. A state imposed limitation on the tracking warrant was arguably violated, but that doesn’t by any means mean that the Fourth Amendment was violated when his case was brought in federal court. United States v. Brewer, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 3451 (7th Cir. Feb. 4, 2019):

Brewer nevertheless submits that the task force should have obeyed the in-state limitation. Yet he does not argue that it reflected a constitutional requirement—that is, a probable-cause determination or a description of the particular search authorized. Cf. Horton, 496 U.S. at 140. For good reason: Judges must describe the specific person, phone, or vehicle to be tracked to satisfy the Fourth Amendment’s particularity requirement. They need not specify (or limit) the tracking to a geographic location. United States v. Sanchez-Jara, 889 F.3d 418, 421 (7th Cir. 2018), cert. denied, 139 S. Ct. 282, 202 L. Ed. 2d 186 (2018); Wayne R. LaFave, 2 Search & Seizure: A Treatise on the Fourth Amendment § 4.5(e) (5th ed. 2018). Nor was there any reason to do so here. The affidavit supporting the warrant in this case described a multistate bank-robbery spree, and we do not see how such evidence could justify monitoring only within Indiana. Brewer may have had a constitutionally protected privacy interest in his whereabouts, see Carpenter v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2206, 2215-17, 201 L. Ed. 2d 507 (2018), but that interest was no greater on Indiana roads than it was on Illinois or California roads.

What we are left with, then, is the task force’s noncompliance with a state-based, ancillary restriction in the warrant. The Fourth Amendment gives no remedy for that.

This entry was posted in Exclusionary rule, Reasonableness. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.