Probable cause for application for criminal warrantgeorgia
At approximately a. Iwai answered from his cell phone and requested that the package be left at the front desk with the manager. The Inspector complied. When Iwai returned at approximately p.
Agents maintained surveillance outside to see what might transpire. At p. The agents went to Iwai's door, and knocked and announced their presence. After no initial response, Agent Richard Jones saw shadowy movements through the peephole, indicating that someone had come to the door, which had yet to open. After announcing their presence again, Agent Jones saw the figure walking away from the door.
He knocked and announced again, but received no response. Agent Jones, the only agent directly in front of the door, then heard noises from inside the unit that sounded like plastic and paper rustling. He interpreted these noises to mean that Iwai was destroying evidence, which in his judgment required immediate action to prevent, and the agents forced entry at approximately p.
When the agents entered, Iwai was in the kitchen area, and the package was lying on the floor in the living room. Apparently, the signaling device had malfunctioned, because the package was still unopened. While securing the residence, the agents observed in plain view on a table in the living room a gun and zip lock bags containing what appeared to be a powder resembling methamphetamine. After securing the premises, Agent Jones asked Iwai for verbal consent to search the residence; consent was given, and a few minutes later Officer Jennifer Bugarin arrived with a consent-to-search form.
Iwai was cooperative and calm, and promptly signed the consent form. Iwai moved to suppress all evidence and statements the government obtained from the controlled delivery operation, and the district court held a multi-day evidentiary hearing on the motion. The court denied Iwai's motion to suppress, holding, in relevant part, that the agents' entry was justified to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence, that the subsequent seizure of objects in plain view was lawful, and that Iwai's consent was voluntary.
Following the denial of the suppression motion, Iwai entered a conditional guilty plea to conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. We review de novo the denial of a motion to suppress evidence, which presents a mixed question of law and fact. United States v. Crawford , F. Wilson , F. Washington , F. A warrantless search of a home is "presumptively unreasonable" because "the physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed.
New York , U. This presumption is overcome only "when '"the exigencies of the situation" make the needs of law enforcement so compelling that [a] warrantless search is objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
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King , U. Arizona , U. Preventing the imminent destruction of evidence is one such exigency, and exists when "officers, acting on probable cause and in good faith, reasonably believe from the totality of the circumstances that  evidence or contraband will imminently be destroyed.
Ojeda , F. Kunkler , F. Probable cause exists where, under the totality of the circumstances, there is "a fair probability or substantial chance of criminal activity. Alaimalo , F. It is undisputed here that, although the agents obtained a warrant to open the package and a second judicial authorization to insert a tracking device and alarm, they did not seek a warrant to subsequently enter Iwai's condominium to retrieve the package.
Iwai contends, and the Dissent agrees, that the evidence found in his home should thus be suppressed because the agents could have, and therefore should have, obtained an anticipatory search warrant. See Dissent at But this disregards the Supreme Court's admonition that officers have no constitutional duty to obtain a warrant as soon as they have probable cause.
See King , U.
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Rather, the consequence of failing to obtain a warrant is that any entry into a residence is presumptively unreasonable without an applicable exception. Thus, whether or not the agents could have obtained an anticipatory search warrant in this case is beside the point: The relevant fact is simply that they did not, and any entry into Iwai's residence was presumptively unreasonable.
Because the agents did not have a warrant to enter and retrieve the package, their entry is lawful only if an exception to the warrant requirement such as exigent circumstances existed. Considering the totality of the circumstances on the evidence presented at the hearing, the district court credited the agents' testimony and concluded that they reasonably believed that the imminent destruction of evidence existed to justify the agents' entry.
See Ojeda , F. The court's finding of exigency was based on the following key evidence adduced at the hearing: 1 six pounds of methamphetamine had been intercepted the day before in a package addressed to Iwai; 2 the multi-story condominium complex had a central mail room to which all packages had to be delivered, preventing the agents from sending the package on a sure course to Iwai's unit; 3 the agents observed Iwai take the package up to his unit; 4 the beeper thereafter signaled that the package had been opened; 5 the agents knew that drugs are easily destroyed or disposed of; 6 upon knocking on the door, Agent Jones saw a shadowy figure approach the door and then retreat; and 7 Agent Jones then heard a suspicious rustling noise from inside, which in his experience as a highly trained narcotics investigator, indicated the destruction of evidence was occurring.
The district court believed the agents were testifying truthfully. And no evidence refutes the conclusion that the agents were acting in good faith. Considering all of these facts together, it was reasonable to conclude that the destruction of incriminating evidence was occurring. Exigency arose at the time Agent Jones heard the suspicious sounds. But to focus on the noises in isolation from all other factors, as the Dissent does, is not a proper "totality of the circumstances" analysis.
See Dissent at ; Ojeda , F. Agent Jones did not hear "a rustling of papers or plastic or something to that effect" in a vacuum.
Six pounds of methamphetamine had been discovered the day before in the package addressed to Iwai. At those quantities, agents were clearly investigating a major drug distributor. The agent heard this noise after the beeper had signaled that the package had been opened, and he knew Iwai was inside. Indeed, our caselaw recognizes that even in situations where "no one event, considered in isolation, would be sufficient, the 'succession of superficially innocent events [can proceed] to the point where a prudent man could say to himself that an innocent course of conduct was substantially less likely than a criminal one.
Bernard , F. Patterson , F. Although the Dissent questions the significance of the noises Agent Jones heard, Dissent at , conduct meaningless "to the untrained eye of an appellate judge. Hicks , F.
Ramirez , U. Agent Jones believed that the noise he heard was Iwai destroying evidence, the trial court found his testimony credible, and there is no evidence in the record to suggest otherwise. See Ornelas v. United States , U. Craighead , F.
DEVIER v. STATE
To the extent that Iwai suggests that Agent Jones made up the noise, the district court listened to the witnesses and found Agent Jones specifically credible on that point. On this record, that factual finding was not clearly erroneous. See Easley v. Cromartie , U. United States Gypsum Co. This situation is distinguishable from United States v.
Mendonsa , F.
In Mendonsa , the officers heard only generic nondescript noise and "pointed to no particular type of noise, which would indicate that the occupants were rushing. Here, by contrast, Agent Jones heard a specific noise more incriminating and more suggestive of destruction of evidence than the "soft music" and general living sounds coming from Mendonsa's apartment.
See also United States v. Alfonso , F. Almonte-Baez , F.
Probable Cause vs. Reasonable Suspicion
Clement , F. In sum, the rustling noises, along with all the other factors known to Agent Jones, were sufficient to create exigency under applicable precedent. We disagree with the Dissent's assertion that these noises could not indicate destruction of evidence. It would be reasonable to conclude that Iwai was rustling through the package to hastily grab the incriminating evidence and destroy it before the agents entered, or that the rustling noises indicated that Iwai was preparing to burn or shred evidence or other incriminating material. We do not consider whether the fact that the package was in Iwai's apartment for two hours before the beeper went off affects our exigent circumstances analysis because Iwai only challenged the district court's exigent circumstances determination on the ground that the Government should have sought an anticipatory warrant.
We do not understand Kentucky v. King to be clearly irreconcilable with considering, in the totality of the exigent circumstances inquiry, whether the police acted in an objectively reasonable manner in the period preceding the exigency. See U. Good , F. Finally, the Dissent concludes that any exigency was created by the agents conducting an improper "knock and talk. But Iwai did not make this argument in the district court below, nor does he raise it before us now, and we need not address it. See Padgett v. Wright , F. Martin Jaska , Inc. That ends the inquiry.
Even if we were to reach this issue, Kentucky v. King likely forecloses any argument that the police created the exigency here. And whether the person who knocks on the door and requests the opportunity to speak is a police officer or a private citizen, the occupant has no obligation to open the door or to speak. Agent Jones waited an appropriate amount of time for Iwai to "put some shorts on," and also testified that had Iwai decided to completely ignore the police at the door, and no other factors triggering an exigency had occurred, he would have retreated and held his position until they obtained a search warrant, as required by caselaw.
See Florida v.