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GA: Arrest for sex offense wasn’t PC to believe digital storage device on person had evidence; SW suppressed

Defendant was arrested for aggravated child molestation and aggravated sodomy, and he had a digital storage device on him. Police sought a search warrant for the storage device, but the affidavit failed to show any probable cause to believe evidence would be found there. Landers v. State, 2020 Ga. App. LEXIS 254 (Apr. 29, 2020):

The investigator’s belief that there may be evidence of aggravated child molestation and aggravated sodomy on the portable storage device, as expressed in the affidavit, amounts to no more than a suspicion or strong reason to suspect. Thus, the 2018 affidavit did not provide the magistrate with a substantial basis for concluding that probable cause existed to issue the 2018 search warrant. … Consequently, we are constrained to hold that the trial court erred in holding that the 2018 search warrant was supported by probable cause. Therefore, we vacate the trial court’s order and remand this case to the trial court with the direction that the trial court consider the effect of the delay between the 2018 and 2019 search warrants and whether the investigator’s 2019 affidavit cured the defect with the 2018 affidavit.

Hattip-John Wesley Hall

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