N.D.Cal.: GFE doesn’t apply to protective sweeps which must be objectively reasonable

The good faith exception cannot be applied to an overbroad protective sweep. [Yet, the court finds the exclusionary rule doesn’t apply for other reasons.] United States v. Garcia, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27861 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 22, 2019):

This Court nonetheless agrees with Garcia that the good faith exception cannot be applied here. The Court credited Officer Lopez’s testimony regarding the officers’ conduct and motivations, and it sees no reason to disturb that credibility finding. See Prior Order at 1. However, the officers’ subjective belief in the legality of their conduct is immaterial, as the good faith exception is governed by an objective standard. The Ninth Circuit determined that “the police had no reason to believe that anybody remained inside the residence — much less somebody violent or injured,” Garcia, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25978, 2018 WL 4360990, at *2 (emphasis added), and that there were “no facts supporting a reasonable belief that there were individuals inside the house who threatened the officers’ safety,” 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25978, [WL] at *3 (emphasis added). Given those determinations, this Court cannot find that the officers acted with an “objectively reasonable good-faith belief” that the warrantless entry was lawful. See Davis, 564 U.S. at 238.

Moreover, the Supreme Court cases establishing and applying the good faith exception involved officers’ reliance on facially valid authority for the search, such as then-binding precedent, see Davis, 564 U.S. at 232, a statute that subsequently was invalidated, see Krull, 480 U.S. at 342, or a facially valid search warrant, see Leon, 468 U.S. at 900. It is not at all clear that those holdings could be stretched to encompass the present case, which is completely distinguishable on its facts, even if this Court could conclude that the officers acted in an objectively reasonable manner.

Accordingly, the Court concludes that the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule does not apply.

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