Michigan Court Discusses Probable Cause for Issuing a Warrant

Pursuant to the Fourth Amendment, people cannot be unreasonably searched or detained by the police. This means, among other things, that in most instances, the police must possess a warrant in order to search a person or their home. Additionally, there must be probable cause for issuing a warrant; if there is not, any search conducted under the warrant may be unlawful, and the evidence found during the search should be suppressed. Recently, a Michigan court addressed the issue of what constitutes probable cause in a case in which the defendant appealed his convictions for weapons crimes and other offenses. If you are charged with a crime, you should speak to a Michigan criminal defense attorney regarding your rights as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant’s home was searched pursuant to a warrant. The information used to obtain the warrant was provided by a confidential source. During the search, the police found illegal narcotics and firearms. The defendant then moved to suppress the evidence found during the search on the grounds that the warrant affidavit did not establish probable cause. The court denied his motion, and he appealed.

Probable Cause for Issuing a Warrant

Pursuant to the Fourth Amendment, a search warrant must be supported by probable cause and must specifically describe the place to be searched and the times that are likely to be found during that search. The courts will find probable cause when it is illustrated that there is a fair likelihood that evidence of a crime or illegal items will be found in a particular place.

The courts determine whether a search warrant establishes probable cause by examining the totality of the circumstances. In some instances, like the present case, the search warrant will include information obtained via a confidential source. If the constitutionality rests, all or in part, on the confidential information, the reliability of that information must be sufficiently corroborated through independent means or clearly demonstrated

In the subject case, the defendant argued that because the confidential source that provided information for the warrant was not reliable, the warrant lacked probable cause, and the search of his home was an illegal search and seizure. The court disagreed, noting that the confidential source was known to police and in their custody, which gave their statements greater weight. Further, the source provided substantial detail about the defendant’s home and the weapons he had, which added to his credibility. Thus, the court affirmed the denial of the defendant’s motion.

Meet with a Capable Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

If the police violate a person’s rights during the investigation of a crime, any evidence found during that investigation may be inadmissible. If you are accused of violating the law, it is smart to meet with an attorney to discuss what measures you can take to protect your interests. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a capable Michigan criminal defense lawyer with the skills and experience needed to provide you with a good chance of obtaining a favorable outcome. You can reach Mr. Bernstein through the form online or by calling (734) 883-9584 to set up a conference.

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