You may have heard you can win your case if the evidence against you was obtained based on an invalid search warrant. But, as a recent case demonstrates, that’s not always true.
In State v. Smith, Mr. Smith was charged with multiple drug offenses and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The evidence was acquired from a search of Smith’s property pursuant to a warrant based on his former girlfriend’s allegations he possessed illegal drugs and firearms.
Smith subsequently filed a motion to suppress challenging the sufficiency of the search warrant affidavit. The same judge who had approved the warrant concluded she should not have signed the warrant in the first place. The judge reasoned because the affiant was a disgruntled ex-girlfriend, independent corroborating evidence was required to establish probable cause. The judge also rejected the State’s alternative argument the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule rendered the evidence admissible even if the search warrant lacked probable cause. Smith’s motion to suppress was granted, meaning the State would not be able to use the evidence obtained during the search of his home and would therefore have to drop his case. The State then appealed. Continue reading