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  1. #1

    Default Can a Search Warrant be Based on an Anonymous Tip and Search of Trash

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Wisconsin

    Search warrant was obtained based off of anonymous tip and contraband in trash pull. I am not disputing legality of trash pull.

    4/15: Anonymous tip to crimestoppers suggesting 200 plant marijuana grow at 123 main street

    4/15: old house 123 main street-Trash pull finding high times magazine seed advertisement, and empty seed package. no thc found. Indices (mail) found in same bag

    5/16: New House 123 new street-Trash pull finding 4 bags. Three white bags and one black bag. Black bag contained .01 grams of marijuana and fertilizer bottle. NO mail or indices or any nexus in black bag.

    5/16: Administrative subpoena from electric company showing higher than normal usage.

    Affidavit for search warrant is bare bones and rest of it is boilerplate language. Training and expertise etc. There is no other surveillance, and none showing that defendant was seen placing that particular bag in garbage.

    My analysis is search violated 4th amendment and any evidence is fruit of the poisonous tree. At quick glance, the affidavit seems to suggest indices was in same bag. If read quickly. Cloer read shows otherwise. Perhaps Judge missed this? Furthermore, since affiant is same investigator who served warrant, good faith exception does not apply. What are your quick thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
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    Default Re: Enough Probable Cause for Search Warrant

    A search warrant is valid until challenged in court and that court says otherwise. Probable cause is a very low standard. It's akin to more likely than not. Anonymous citizen informants are considered reliable for probable cause purposes. The administrative warrant for the power company not only gave the cops the usage but also who's paying the bill. The good faith exception can apply because the judge who authorized the warrant believed there was enough for probable cause to search and the cop is allowed to rely on that....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Enough Probable Cause for Search Warrant

    We can't see the affidavits nor the evidence cited to request the warrant.

    Were the plants located inside or outside?

    What relation was 123 New St to 123 Main St?

    Which house was the warrant issued for or was it for both?

    Based on the evidence you have described, I can see a judge issuing a warrant as there appears to be probable cause to do so.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Enough Probable Cause for Search Warrant

    plants were inside. 123 new st is the new house. defendant moved out of old house. warrant was for new house only. affidavit is simple. and the above is an accurate summation.

    as to good faith per the other reply. The officer who applied for warrant is same as who executed warrant. He knowingly submitted an affidavit so lacking in indicia of probable cause it rendered any official belief in it to be unreasonable... Anonymous tipsters unless they have already provided prior info that was deemed valid, are considered hearsay and nowhere near enough for probable cause. tip needs to be corroborated. A bag with no indices of residence should not be enough to corroborate.

    not trying to be argumentative. I appreciate any and all input.

    Say for exmple... completely different case, but similiar circumstance.

    Officers found contraband (gun, weapon, evidence) in garbage can. is it enough for warrant? There has to be nexus to the residence. garbage can in front of house is not enough.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    18,340

    Default Re: Enough Probable Cause for Search Warrant

    Quote Quoting Frozen Tundra
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    Officers found contraband (gun, weapon, evidence) in garbage can. is it enough for warrant? There has to be nexus to the residence. garbage can in front of house is not enough.
    Apparently it WAS because the warrant WAS issued.

    If you are the one who was arrested and charged then your lawyer is the one you should be discussing this with.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Enough Probable Cause for Search Warrant

    you do realize that sometimes warrants are issued when they should not have been right?

  7. #7
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    California
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    Default Re: Enough Probable Cause for Search Warrant

    Quote Quoting Frozen Tundra
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    plants were inside. 123 new st is the new house. defendant moved out of old house. warrant was for new house only. affidavit is simple. and the above is an accurate summation.

    as to good faith per the other reply. The officer who applied for warrant is same as who executed warrant. He knowingly submitted an affidavit so lacking in indicia of probable cause it rendered any official belief in it to be unreasonable... Anonymous tipsters unless they have already provided prior info that was deemed valid, are considered hearsay and nowhere near enough for probable cause. tip needs to be corroborated. A bag with no indices of residence should not be enough to corroborate.
    That's not correct. An anonymous citizen's tip has to be corroborated but they don't have to have provided prior information and their hearsay statements are admissible in a SW affidavit. As to the corroboration, the cops went to the address, lawfully searched the trash, found stuff that indicated that the occupant was growing recently. Apparently, the occupant had moved. The use a warrant to check utility usage and likely are given the new address or got it from the post office or the owner/lessor of the home. They go there, search the trash and they find packaging and marijuana. They don't have to know your name or find mail with you name on in the trash. If they find MJ and indicia of a grow in your trash along with the utility information , they could stood outside while they ran and got a warrant and it would be valid. Don't hang your hat on the original tip. When a cop goes in to obtain a warrant, the judge reads the affidavit. The officer is sworn and the judge can ask him questions. It's entirely possible that the cops had more information that they told the judge at that time, that wasn't contained in the affidavit itself. That takes a discovery motion to find out. As to good faith, you have to show that the officer was dishonest or reckless, neither of which you've provided any evidence of.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Enough Probable Cause for Search Warrant

    Quote Quoting Frozen Tundra
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    There has to be nexus to the residence. garbage can in front of house is not enough.
    Apparently the judge who issued the warrant disagrees with you.

    Stop acting like you know everything and get an attorney. This is not a do-it-yourself matter.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Enough Probable Cause for Search Warrant

    I think the op is trying to suggest the evidence of drug issues was in a separate bag without any information to link it to the op. The different color bag is presumably a veiled argument it wasn't from his household. That doesn't work. I have at least 2 different types of trash bags each week in my trash pick up. So he is attempting the "Some guy must have driven by and tossed his drug related trash next to mine" isn't usually a winning argument, especially since it was only the basis for the search warrant. The fact the suspicion based on the evidence found in the trash was supported by the find once the warrant was issued makes it even more difficult to argue "it wasn't my trash".

  10. #10

    Default Re: Enough Probable Cause for Search Warrant

    In my research and advice from an appeals attorney, when the validity of a search warrant is challenged, or defendant asserts the trial court erred in denying motion to suppress, the appeals court applies a de novo review.

    four corners of the affidavit become scrutinized. what the issuing judge had his hands on at time of issuing warrant. there is no statement from police. just typed affidavit. I could provide copy of actual affidavit, but please trust above is fair and accurate summary.

    The only actual true illegal contraband was in bag that did not contain indices and lacked nexus to residence. all other info from either tips, garbage, or electricity reports are conclusory and allegations. while the standard required for a search warrant is much less stringent, the facts still have to rise to substantial basis for probable cause. not just mere beliefs.

    whatever found after the search, does not make a warrant without probable cause valid. Its easy to say well judge issued it so it must be valid... but there are thousands of search warrants deemed invalid later on. also many times an officer applies for warrant and judge tells them no, get me more inculpatory data.

    In this case, when reading the affidavit, it is easy to miss contraband is in different bag. For those that are interested please take a look at this case, which confirms most of what I say.

    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/il-court-...s/1487040.html

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