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Good Faith Exception for Search Warrants

January 24, 2017

Good Faith Exception for Search Warrants

CasesState v. Lindsey Lowe and State v. Angela Daniel

Issue:  When does the Exclusionary Rule Reform Act permit mistakes in the issuance and serving of search warrants?

Facts:  Both of these unrelated cases contain errors relating to search warrants. In Lowe, the warrant stated the time as “p.m.” instead of “a.m.” In Daniel, the officer failed to leave a copy of the warrant with the defendant.

Appellate Decisions: The intermediate court in Lowe held that the evidence obtained from the defective warrant was admissible pursuant to the Exclusionary Rule Reform Act since the error was a “good faith mistake or technical violation,” and that this law does not violate separation of powers.  The court in Daniel suppressed the evidence, holding that failing to leave a copy of the warrant, even if good faith, was not a “clerical error” and thus not covered by the statute.

Review Granted:  January 18, 2017.

Prediction:  The Court issued orders in both cases saying it was particularly interested In whether the good faith exception adopted in State v. Lemaricus Devall Davidson, (Tenn. Dec. 19, 2016), should be expanded to include the kinds of mistakes present here. David will not offer a prediction in these cases because he is counsel in the Lowe case.