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Great New Search Warrant Opinion Not About Cell Phones And Yet . . . .

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by: Ryan Scott • September 28, 2016 • no comments

Just a couple of months ago I posted regarding a federal case on a search warrant for a drug dealer's home. That was a nice opinion. Today, the Oregon COA issued an equally great opinion, State v. Webber. Worth reading in full, but here's a worthwhile paragraph:

Ritter’s affidavit described the objective facts regarding defendant’s involvement in drug activity; separately, it described Ritter’s training and experience regarding drug traffickers in general. Ritter did not purport to rely on his training and experience to explain the significance of his objective observations. In fact, Ritter’s affidavit did not meaningfully tie his expertise to the objective facts in any way. As a result, that training and experience failed to establish the required nexus between defendant’s drug activity and his residence and, therefore, could not support a nonspeculative inference that evidence of that activity would be found in defendant’s home.

While this case has nothing to do with cell phones, it will be useful if you've got a good cell phone opinion. After St v Mansor, a prosecutor had said to me that any cell phone search warrant that might normally fail under Mansor can be easily fixed with additional language about "training and experience." I was skeptical then, although naturally it depends on the actual facts in the search warrant. I'm certainly no less skeptical after today's opinion.