Is it warranted?

Warrant for DNA failed to show probable cause because it was based on mere conclusions. On remand, however, the state is free to use inevitable discovery to validate it. State v. Jenkins, 2012 S.C. App. LEXIS 84 (March 28, 2012):

Nevertheless, the State argues that because this case involves a sex crime, the magistrate could reasonably have inferred the victim was the source of the information. We disagree. The law does not allow the State to justify a bodily intrusion on the possibility that a magistrate made a correct inference as to the source of the information in the affidavit. Rather, "[m]ere conclusory statements which give the magistrate no basis to make a judgment regarding probable cause are insufficient." Smith, 301 S.C. at 373, 392 S.E.2d at 183. Moreover, the complete absence of a source for any of the information makes a variety of scenarios possible. For example, the detective could have pieced together the information from other officers, the victim’s neighbors, or even an anonymous tip. This is precisely what the law forbids a magistrate from doing. The magistrate’s "action cannot be a mere ratification of the bare conclusions of others." Id. (quoting Gates, 462 U.S. at 239).

Note: One of the benefits of knowing the Fourth Amendment is that you don’t file pointless motions to suppress. Most of the time, 95% of the time, the warrant or search is valid. I filed my first motion to suppress in over a year this week on the same ground: The officer alleged it was his opinion evidence would be found in the place to be search without any effort to show probable cause connecting it to the crime under investigation. And, warrants failing on this ground get no good faith exception under Leon’s third ground.


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