D.Minn.: Govt fails on its burden of proving GFE applies; no witnesses called

The search warrant for defendant’s cell phone lacked probable cause for lack of specificity. More importantly, the government failed in its burden of proof to show the good faith exception applies. United States v. Armstrong, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207602 (D. Minn. Nov. 16, 2022):

Finally, the Court finds that the Leon exception does not apply. The Government bears the burden of proving this exception. See United States v. Riesselman, 646 F.3d 1072, 1079 (8th Cir. 2011) (“Once the defendant comes forward with specific evidence demonstrating taint, the ultimate burden of persuasion to show the evidence is untainted lies with the government.”). “[I]n assessing whether reliance on a search warrant was objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances, it is appropriate to take into account the knowledge that an officer in the searching officer’s position would have possessed.” Curry, 911 F.2d at 78. In this case, the Government has not provided any evidence of who conducted the search of the iPhones and what information they had at the time. Thus, the Court cannot assess whether the searching officer’s reliance on the warrant was reasonable. While the Government argues that the Magistrate Judge should have asked more questions during the evidentiary hearing, the burden is on the Government, not the Magistrate Judge, to prove that the good-faith exception applies. The Government has failed to meet its burden here.

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