Tuesday, June 21, 2005

US v. Sears

o. 03-10573 (6-20-05). This is a bad warrant case. The San Francisco Police gave a warrant to a judicial officer to search the premises of a suspected drug dealer. The judge signed, and the police went to make copies. Instead of using a photocopier, the officer printed out a different form from the computer, that had additional words. Specifically, the phrases were "or nearby" and "not limited to." The district court suppressed the evidence seized under those additional words -- which was nothing, zilch, zero. On appeal, defendant argued that the acts of the police rendered the whole warrant bad. The 9th (W. Fletcher) disagreed, and affirmed. The 9th was troubled (aren't courts frequently "troubled" before they affirm?) by the sloppiness of the police, but found that there was no intentional acts by the officer, and that the harm was harmless. Kozinski, dissenting, takes a darker view, wondering why the police would not photocopier but instead print out a new document? Moreover, Kozinski argues for the exclusionary rule, reasoning that the only way to stop such sloppiness is by a harsh penalty, which should be applied here.


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