Search warrant for child pornography, finding none, leads to civil rights liability for the investigators

Courtesy of fourthamendment.com here is an interesting case – the operative language being, I suspect, “finding none.”  But the case may also having something to say about blanket search authorizations for which LE merely changes the name, in this case based on “tips” from NCMEC.

Franks violation leading to search warrant for child pornography, finding none, leads to civil rights liability for the investigators. Chism v. Washington State, 10-35085 (9th Cir. August 25, 2011).

We reverse the district court’s judgment and remand this case for trial. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Chisms, we conclude that the Chisms have made a substantial showing of the officers’ deliberate falsehood or reckless disregard for the truth and have established that, but for the dishonesty, the searches and arrest would not have occurred. We also conclude that the officers are not entitled to qualified immunity because the Chisms’ right to not be searched and arrested as a result of judicial deception was clearly established at the time Gardner prepared and submitted her affidavit.

An underlying point being that the police don’t get to rely on “good faith” when they lie or exhibit a reckless disregard for the truth in the search authorization application.

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