CA6: No PC or GFE in conclusory child porn warrant based largely on boilerplate

A rarity: A child pornography search warrant that was based on boilerplate and little facts that also failed the good faith exception. United States v. Lewis, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 23316 (6th Cir. Sep. 1, 2023):

Taking a step back and considering Detective Gatson’s affidavit under the totality of the circumstances, “the combined boilerplate language and minimal . . . information provide few, if any, particularized facts of an incriminating nature and little more than conclusory statements of affiant’s belief that probable cause existed regarding criminal activity.” Weaver, 99 F.3d at 1379. By omitting the essential facts of his investigation and communicating only his bottom-line conclusion, Detective Gatson asked the magistrate to find probable cause based solely on his say-so. “No reasonable officer could have believed” under those circumstances “that the affidavit was not so lacking in indicia of probable cause as to be reliable.” Laughton, 409 F.3d at 751.

Our conclusion is consistent with United States v. White. 874 F.3d 490. White addressed a search-warrant affidavit stating that an investigator had received information that White was selling marijuana from a residence and that the investigator had used a confidential source to purchase marijuana directly from White in the driveway outside that same residence. Id. at 494. Rejecting White’s argument that the affidavit was a bare-bones affidavit, we contrasted the affidavit with those held to be insufficiently detailed in Nathanson v. United States, 290 U.S. 41, 54 S. Ct. 11, 78 L. Ed. 159 (1933), and Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108, 84 S. Ct. 1509, 12 L. Ed. 2d 723 (1964). White, 874 F.3d at 498-99.

This entry was posted in Good faith exception, Probable cause. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.