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Unsupported search warrant voids drug conviction

July 24, 2015

The Indiana Court of Appeals Friday threw out a man’s cocaine dealing conviction, holding that a search warrant that led to charges against him should not have been issued.

A jury convicted Antyon Buford in Elkhart Superior Court of the Class A felony dealing count, Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, and Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance.

Police went to Buford’s home after receiving a tip from the prosecutor’s office that there might be drug activity involving another man who lived there. They smelled burned marijuana when they approached, and officers noticed marijuana residue on a table. They arrested Buford and the other man on warrants against them, and another officer went to obtain a search warrant.

The search yielded a gun, bullets, marijuana roaches, a scale with white residue that tested positive for cocaine, and a white rock that appeared to be cocaine. The trial court rejected Buford’s motion to suppress the evidence as the result of an improper search.

“As the probable cause affidavit included hearsay information that was not corroborated by the totality of the circumstances, the warrant should not have been issued,” Judge Melissa May wrote for the panel in  Antyon Buford v. State of Indiana, 20A05-1408-CR-392.

“In the case before us, the totality of the circumstances did not corroborate a hearsay statement that there was ‘dealing’ of drugs from Buford’s residence or that ‘a search at that address would yield fruits of the crime’ of dealing. … We must accordingly reverse and remand for further proceedings.”

 

 

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