E.D.Tenn.: Backyard firepit was part of curtilage

A firepit in defendant’s yard (an “outdoor living area”) was part of the curtilage. The officer, however, was lawfully on the curtilage for a knock-and-talk. United States v. Thurman, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9358 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 19, 2023).*

Sometimes probable cause is virtually overwhelming, and attacking it isn’t worth the time. “Agent Stewart’s affidavit contains ample, cross-corroborated information regarding Garner and Ortiz’s suspected drug dealing and firearms crimes. That information includes, inter alia, that Garner packaged heroin at 1621 Market Street and maintained a stash house at 606 North 17th Street (two locations affiliated with the … conspiracy), and traveled interstate to ‘pick up,’ …; that Ortiz participated in three controlled sales of heroin, …; that investigators observed Garner engaging in conduct consistent with drug dealing on multiple occasions (two hand-to-hand exchanges, swapping vehicles, and retrieving items stored under a vehicle’s hood), …; that Brown told another associate he had given Garner a cell phone to deal drugs, …; and that Garner had engaged in a ‘consistent and sustained’ pattern of cell phone communication with Brown, Ortiz, and other drug dealers within the … drug-trafficking organization, ….” United States v. Garner, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9625 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 19, 2023).*

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