TX: Boilerplate in cell phone SW affidavit not unreasonable, but facts of PC must be shown too

Boilerplate language in a search warrant application for a cell phone isn’t inappropriate, but there must still be a factual showing of probable cause for search of the phone. State v. Baldwin, 2022 Tex. Crim. App. LEXIS 321 (May 11, 2022):

During a capital murder investigation, investigators obtained a search warrant for Appellee John Wesley Baldwin’s phone pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure article 18.0215(c)(5)(B). In a motion to suppress, Appellee objected to the search warrant’s supporting affidavit, which contained generic statements about the use of cell phones. The trial court and the court of appeals both concluded that the affidavit did not contain sufficient facts to establish a fair probability that a search of the cell phone found in Appellee’s vehicle would likely produce evidence in the investigation of the murder. We granted review to answer this question: under what circumstances may boilerplate language about cell phones be considered in a probable cause analysis? We hold that boilerplate language may be used in an affidavit for the search of a cell phone, but to support probable cause, the language must be coupled with other facts and reasonable inferences that establish a nexus between the device and the offense. Because the affidavit in the instant case failed to do so, we discern no abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court and no error on the part of the court of appeals.

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