N.D.Cal.: Potential for risk of violence justified nighttime search

Defendant’s motion to suppress on several grounds is denied. The affidavit showed probable cause, and the good faith exception would apply anyway. The affidavit for a firearm wasn’t stale; the information about weapons was still “fresh” even though a shooting was nine months earlier with a Molotov cocktail four days earlier [firearms seldom, if ever, get stale], and justification was shown for a nighttime search; the magistrate was objective despite seeing two affidavits on defendant in short order. United States v. Jah, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31530 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 19, 2021). As to the nighttime search:

Mr. Jah argues that no showing of exigent circumstances justified a nighttime search; he points to the lack of exigency indicated by the small apartment with two means of egress and over ten “SWAT” officers executing the search. Nonetheless, the risk of “wiping evidence” and the wish to avoid confrontation validly support Judge Yaggy’s decision. See, e.g., United States v. Stefanson, 648 F.2d 1231, 1236 (9th Cir. 1981) (holding that where a wife had the chance to destroy evidence after being alerted to her husband’s arrest, exigency justified a warranted search at night). Judge Yaggy did not err in finding good cause for the nighttime search.


Finally, Mr. Jah also apparently asked officers why they destroyed the Detroit Avenue front door. He complains that Sgt. Damato answered, “Because of what you did to these people.” This statement does not trigger any Fourth Amendment rights violation and thus does not form an actionable basis for suppression.

What about reasonably conducting the search?

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