Cal.2: Litigating a motion to suppress with an affidavit sealed in part from the defense

People v. Washington, 2021 Cal. App. LEXIS 196 (2d Dist. Mar. 9, 2021):

If the court determines any portion of the affidavit should remain sealed, it then proceeds to the second step, which “requires the court to determine whether ‘there is a reasonable probability the defendant would prevail’ on his suppression motion.” (People v. Heslington (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 947, 957 [125 Cal. Rptr. 3d 740].) If the defendant moved to traverse the warrant, the court must determine whether the defendant’s general allegations of material misrepresentations or omissions are supported by the public and sealed portions of the affidavit. (Hobbs, supra, 7 Cal.4th at 974.) For the defendant to succeed on this claim, it must be shown that “(1) the affidavit included a false statement made ‘knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth,’ and (2) ‘the allegedly false statement is necessary to the finding of probable cause.’” (Ibid.)

If the defendant moved to quash the warrant, the court must evaluate the affidavit’s showing of probable cause under a similar procedure. (Hobbs, supra, 7 Cal.4th at 975.) The court must assess “whether, under the ‘totality of the circumstances’ presented in the search warrant affidavit … there was ‘a fair probability’ that contraband or evidence of a crime would be found in the place searched pursuant to the warrant.” (Ibid.) “‘[T]he warrant can be upset only if the affidavit fails as a matter of law … to set forth sufficient competent evidence supportive of the magistrate’s finding of probable cause … .’” (Ibid.)

Having reviewed the sealed portion of the search warrant affidavit, we find no error in the trial court’s denial of appellant’s motions. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that valid grounds supported maintaining the confidentiality of information in the sealed portion, and that the extent of the sealing was necessary for that purpose. Moreover, it is not reasonably probable that appellant would have prevailed on his motion to traverse or quash the warrant. Nothing in the affidavit leads us to suspect any material misrepresentations or omissions were made. And under the totality of the circumstances, there was a fair probability that execution of the warrant would lead to contraband or evidence of a crime at the location to be searched.

This entry was posted in Informant hearsay, Suppression hearings. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.