E.D.Pa.: Govt’s post-trial concession search was illegal undermines half the counts of conviction, and no harmless error on remainder

The government concedes after conviction on seven counts that three of the counts against defendant were the product of an illegal search. They argue the remainder can stand without it. It can’t because, if there was any doubt for any jurors, this evidence extinguished it. “Drugs, guns, and money. That is how the Government summarized its case against Matt Jones. The Government now concedes that the drugs, guns, and money from Jones’ residence were seized in violation of the fourth amendment. After seeing this evidence at trial, the jury convicted Jones of seven counts related to heroin distribution and gun possession. The question now before the Court is whether any of those seven counts can withstand the admitted violation of Jones’ fourth amendment rights.” United States v. Jones, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12914 (E.D.Pa. Jan. 25, 2022).*

On defendant’s Franks claim: “At best, the defendant has pointed out inartful drafting on Fenner’s part and a small transcription error. The defendant has presented no direct evidence of Fenner’s state of mind or showed any intent to deceive, and the evidence Fenner had indicates that there was no need for him to lie or be reckless with the truth. Because Judge Dries did not commit clear error in concluding that the defendant had not made the necessary preliminary showing for a Franks hearing, the court will not reverse that ruling and will not order a Franks hearing.” And, “Even if the defendant had demonstrated that Fenner made a material false statement or misrepresentation, he would have been required to demonstrate that absent the false statement or misrepresentation, probable cause would not have existed.” It does. United States v. Massey, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12938 (E.D.Wis. Jan. 25, 2022).*

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