United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
RICHARDSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Tavarie William's Motion to
Suppress Evidence and Incorporated Memorandum of Law (Doc.
No. 34, “the Motion”), to which the Government
has responded (Doc. No. 48). Via the Motion, Defendant raised
seven separate issues. The Court previously resolved five of
those seven issues (Doc. Nos. 76 & 90), and only two
remain: (1) whether the search warrant affidavit provided
probable cause for the search of Room 264 (“Issue
Six”); and (2) whether the DNA sample was obtained
pursuant to a warrant that allegedly failed to provide an
adequate justification for a buccal swab of Defendant
Probable Cause and the Leon Good-Faith Exception to
the Exclusionary Rule
cause ‘requires only a probability or substantial
chance of criminal activity, not an actual showing of such
activity.'” United States v. Christian,
925 F.3d 305, 311 (6th Cir. 2019) (en banc) (citing
United States v. Tagg, 886 F.3d 579, 585 (6th Cir.
2018)). In its recent en banc decision in Christian,
the Sixth Circuit instructed that probable cause should be
determined “[v]iewing the ‘totality of the
circumstances,' Florida v. Harris, 568 U.S. 237,
244  (2013), through the ‘lens of common sense,'
as the Supreme Court has instructed, id. at
248[.]” Id. at 309. The court further
Time and again the Supreme Court has emphasized that
[p]robable cause is not a high bar to clear. Where, as here,
a magistrate has issued a search warrant based on probable
cause, we do[ ] not write on a blank slate. Rather, the
magistrate's probable-cause determination should be paid
great deference, and we overturn that decision only if the
magistrate arbitrarily exercised his or her authority. We are
not permitted to attempt a de novo review of
Id. at 311 (citations and quotation marks omitted).
The “‘haste of a criminal investigation'
under which officers often draft an affidavit supporting a
search warrant” is also relevant to a probable cause
analysis. Id. at 310. Courts should keep in mind
that “police officers are mostly non-lawyers who must
draft search-warrant affidavits ‘on the basis of
nontechnical, common-sense judgments[.]'”
Id. (quoting Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S.
213, 235-36 (1983)).
a search warrant is determined not to have been supported by
probable cause, such that the search was in violation of the
Fourth Amendment, the fruits of the search are not
necessarily suppressible. Pursuant to United States v.
Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 905 (1984), “the introduction
of evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment is
permitted in criminal trials when the evidence is
‘obtained in the reasonable good-faith belief that a
search or seizure was in accord with the Fourth
Amendment.'” United States v. Moorehead,
912 F.3d 963, 968 (6th Cir. 2019) (quoting Leon, 468
U.S. at 909). A search warrant affidavit is insufficient for
police to rely upon in good-faith if it is “bare
bones.” But if an affidavit is not bare-bones, it is
one upon which an officer can rely in good-faith.
Christian, 925 F.3d at 312.
be considered bare bones, an affidavit must be ‘so
lacking in indicia of probable cause' as to make an
officer's ‘belief in its existence  objectively
unreasonable.'” Id. (quoting United
States v. Laughton, 409 F.3d 744, 748 (6th Cir. 2005))).
An affidavit is barebones only if it “merely
‘states suspicions, or conclusions, without providing
some underlying factual circumstances regarding veracity,
reliability, and basis of knowledge.'” Id.
(quoting United States v. Washington, 380 F.3d 236,
241 n.4 (6th Cir. 2004))). Further, “[t]he exclusionary
rule is designed to deter police misconduct rather than to
punish the errors of judges and magistrates.”
Id. at 313 (citation and internal quotation marks
Issue Six: The Room 264 Search Warrant
arresting Defendant, law enforcement obtained a search
warrant to search Defendant's hotel room (Room 264).
(Doc. No. 34-2). Defendant asserts that the search conducted
pursuant to this warrant violated Defendant's Fourth
Amendment rights. (Doc. No. 34 at 6). The entirety of
Defendant's argument is as follows:
[The warrant affidavit] was based mainly on information
obtained through illegal actions described [elsewhere in the
Motion to Suppress]. That information must be redacted from
the warrant affidavit. After that redaction, the warrant
establishes only that [the alleged juvenile victim] ran away
from home and texted her relatives recently. After that
redaction, the requisite nexus between the suspicion and the
place to be searched is utterly lacking. . . . Thus, the
search warrant was plainly invalid, and the search of Room
264 was unconstitutional.
(Id.) (citations omitted).
argument is effectively moot. The Court has ruled that the
alleged “illegal actions” described elsewhere in
the Motion were lawful. (Doc. Nos. 76 & 90). This means
that nothing should or will be redacted from the affidavit
for purposes of assessing the adequacy of its showing of
probable cause. Thus, because Defendant does not challenge
the adequacy of the warrant affidavit without the redactions
he urges,  the Motion with respect to Issue Six is
Issue Seven: The ...