Probable Cause Existed For Search Warrant Of Home And Car In Counterfeiting Case

A recent case evaluated whether the police executed a valid search of a suspect’s home and car, and whether the evidence found should have been suppressed. In United States v. Carney, the defendant Carney was sentenced to 51 months after entering a guilty plea to charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, making counterfeit money, and passing counterfeit money. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied his motion to suppress, finding that probable cause existed for the warrant to search the man’s apartment and car.

The affidavit supporting the search warrant covered “evidence that someone using the car in question tried to pass counterfeit bills of different denominations at different times, that the car and residence were Carney’s, that the car was seen in front of the residence, and that Carney was identified as attempting to pass a counterfeit bill.”

If you have been arrested for criminal activity, or have been subjected to a search, it is important to consult with an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney immediately. When police conduct a search without a valid warrant, an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer can fight to suppress any evidence they collect and may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed.

Here, Carney argued on appeal that the police did not have probable cause, that the search warrant was constitutionally defective and that the search warrant was not supported by probable cause. The appellate court denied the appeal, noting:

“the search warrant issued in this case was supported by probable cause because the support affidavit contained enough facts to indicate a fair probability that evidence of a crime would be located in both the white Chevy SUV and the apartment. That is all that is required. (emphasis added).”

This rule has been used to find valid search warrants of individuals’ homes where a suspected thief may have stolen property in their home, or a drug dealer may have evidence of drug activity in his or her home, or a suspected counterfeiter may have different bills in his or her home.

The court explained that in this situation, because several facts pointed to probable evidence of counterfeiting in the car as well as in the apartment, that the search warrant was valid.

Further, even if there weren’t sufficient facts to reach “probable cause,” the court determined that the affidavit provided a “minimally sufficient nexus between the alleged illegal activity…and the places to be searched to support an officer’s good faith belief in the warrant’s validity.”

For more information about search warrants, or if you are under investigation or have been arrested for any Michigan crime, please contact the dedicated Michigan criminal defense law firm of Grabel & Associates for a free, immediate consultation.

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