The 4th: Bad search warrant

“In State v. Smith, 301 S.C. 371 (1990), Smith moved to suppress a knife, allegedly used in a robbery, which was seized from his motel room pursuant to a search warrant. In determining whether the issuing magistrate had a substantial basis to conclude probable cause existed, this Court considered the following affidavit accompanying a search warrant:


That on May 12th at approximately 11:45 p.m. Reginald Jerome Smith went into the Master Inn located at 1468 Savannah Hwy., Charleston, S.C. and he then robbed the manager at knife point. Smith has been staying at the Host of America Room 216 since Jan. 1, 1988 and there is every reason to believe the weapon and clothes used in the robbery will be located in the room. This information was confirmed in person by Sgt. Sherman on 05/13/88.


We held that the affidavit was defective because it ‘set[ ] forth no facts as to why police believed Smith robbed the Master Host Inn.’"


State v. Baccus, 367 S.C. 41, 51 (2006) (citation omitted)



“In the present case, the affidavit in support of the search warrant for Appellant's residence read:

REASON FOR AFFIANT'S BELIEF THAT THE PROPERTY SOUGHT IS ON THE SUBJECT PREMISES

At the time of the suspects (sic) arrest at 2616 Alligator Rd. in Florence County, by Investigators Barry Prosser and Von Dean Turbeville with Florence and Marion County Sheriff's Office. A pile of what appeared to be clothing was lying on the ground beside the residence smoldering in plain view, and a vehicle the suspect was apparently driving was located approximately ¼ of a mile from this residence with blood stains on the inside and outside of the vehicle.

This affidavit fails to set forth any facts as to why police believed Appellant committed the crime. The language in the affidavit lacks specificity and contains conclusory statements. Given the totality of the circumstances, we conclude the issuing magistrate did not have a substantial basis to find probable cause for a search of Appellant's residence, and the trial court erred in admitting evidence seized pursuant to the search warrant.”


State v. Baccus, 367 S.C. 41, 51–52 (2006)

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