7th Circuit affirms search warrant basis

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that enough probable cause existed to justify a search warrant that led to a man’s jury convictions on drug charges.

In U.S.A v. Marlon K. Spears, No. 10-3338, the federal appellate court affirmed a decision from Chief Judge Philip Simon in the Northern District of Indiana.

The case involves Marlon Spears, who was the subject of a police search in August 2008 where drugs and a firearm were found in his home. A magistrate judge issued a search warrant for Spears’ home. After that search, the man was arrested and charged with possessing 100 or more marijuana plants with intent to distribute, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and maintaining a place for the manufacture and distribution of marijuana. Spears filed motions to suppress the evidence from the search, challenging statements in the probable cause affidavit that had accompanied the warrant application. The District court held a hearing pursuant to Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978), and after determining that the warrant didn’t contain any false statements the court denied the motion.

A jury convicted Spears on all three counts, and he challenged the lower court’s finding that no Franks violation had occurred.
On appeal, the 7th Circuit determined that enough evidence existed in the probable cause affidavit for the warrant to be executed. The appellate panel declined to analyze the issue about how one of the officers relied on information from an informant but didn’t include that in the affidavit. Spears argued that no magistrate judge could infer from the affidavit that the information came from a fellow officer or that the source of the information was reliable.

“Alas, this is not a question we must resolve, because even if we agreed with Spears’s position that the omission was material, misleading, and done so with intent or reckless disregard, and that the District court committed clear error, we would find that the arrant contained sufficient probable cause,” Judge Ann Williams wrote.



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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.