United States v. Grant

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 06-11-2012
  • Case #: 11-50036
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Berzon for the Court; Circuit Judges Thomas and Wardlaw
  • Full Text Opinion

The good faith reliance doctrine under United States v. Leon is inapplicable to an affidavit that does not “establish at least a colorable argument for probable cause.”

During a murder investigation, police obtained a warrant to search the home of James Grant for the firearm used in the homicide. Grant, who was not connected to the murder, challenged the search warrant, which turned up two firearms in his home and resulted in Grant’s conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. On appeal, Grant argued that the good faith reliance doctrine under United States v. Leon did not apply, because the police did not establish a “colorable argument for probable cause.” The government attempted to argue that the good faith reliance exception applied based on the connection between Grant and the murder suspect. The Ninth Circuit concluded that the reliance of the officers on the warrant was "entirely unreasonable." The police made many unreasonable inferences regarding where the murder weapon could be located and the length of time it would have been in Grant’s home. The search warrant was executed six months after the murder occurred, and no concrete evidence linked Grant to the suspect. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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