United States v. Grubbs

United States v. Grubbs

United States Supreme Court
547 U.S. 90 (2006)

ISSUE: Is an anticipatory search warrant invalid because the property owner was not given the affidavit that contained the condition precedent to the warrant taking effect along with the copy of the warrant he received?
HOLDING: No, property owners needn't receive a copy of the warrant at all.
FACTS:
  • D ordered a child porn video online from a site that was operated by an undercover postal inspector and had it shipped to his home
  • The inspector obtained an anticipatory search warrant of D's home with the condition precedent being that the parcel is taken into the residence upon delivery
  • The parcel was delivered and taken inside, and then D was arrested and his home was searched
  • The inspector gave D a copy of the warrant but not a copy of the affidavit containing the condition precedent
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
  • Dist. Ct. denied suppression motion
  • Ct. App. reversed holding that the search was illegal because the warrant didn't become operative until the condition precedent was satisfied, and thus D should have received a copy of it
RULES:
  • Anticipatory search warrant: A warrant based upon an affidavit showing PC that at some future time (but not presently) certain evidence will be located at a specified place
    • Usually subject to a condition precedent called a "triggering condition" other than the passage of time
REASONING:
  • Anticipatory search warrants are not unconstitutional: All warrants are in a sense "anticipatory" because the PC requirement looks to see whether the evidence will be found when the search is conducted
    • Warrant requirements are the same:
      • That there is now probable that
      • Contraband, evidence of a crime, or a fugitive will be on the described premises
      • When the warrant is executed
    • For a conditioned anticipatory warrant to comply with PC requirement:
      • It must be true not only that if the triggering condition occurs there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place
      • But also that there is PC to believe that the triggering condition will occur
  • Not part of particularity requirement: The plain language of the 4th Amdt. only requires particularity of the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized -- nothing more
  • Triggering condition needn't be in warrant: The 4th Amdt. doesn't require that the warrant set forth the magistrate's basis for finding PC, so it doesn't require the warrant set for the triggering condition either
  • Needn't receive warrant: The 4th Amdt. nor the FR of Crim Pro require that the property owner receive a copy of the warrant
    • The magistrate has already made the PC determination, and that's the end of the debate

 

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