CA7: GFE inquiry seems to include merits of PC, even when court doesn’t have to go there

The district court decided this case solely on the good faith exception and never reached probable cause. So does the court of appeals. The affidavit had a presumption of validity, which defendant recognizes, and it was not bare bones. The good faith exception applies. United States v. Ware, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 23575 (7th Cir. Aug. 9, 2021). The court essentially gets to the merits of probable cause anyway without saying it:

Ware’s arguments to the contrary do not meet the demanding standard for rebutting the presumption of good faith that arose when Lane sought the warrant. See Messerschmidt v. Millender, 565 U.S. 535, 547 (2012) (“the threshold for establishing [the] exception [to the presumption] is a high one, and it should be”). His attacks on the district court’s reasoning primarily rehash his arguments that the affidavit failed to establish probable cause. But we assume probable cause was lacking if we reach the Leon argument. The point of Leon is that not all evidence obtained without probable cause must be suppressed. Ware’s strongest argument for bad faith-Lane’s track record-cannot overcome the cumulative signals to an objective officer that Ware was engaged in the drug trade, and that evidence of those activities was likely to be at his home.

The district court thus correctly denied Ware’s motion to suppress. ….

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