United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
W. Molloy Judge
Allan Roy Goodman is charged with five drug offenses, two
firearm offenses, and one count of obstructing justice by
retaliating against an informant. (Doc. 52.) He seeks to
suppress the evidence gathered as a result of five search
warrants on the ground that the warrant affidavits failed to
establish the requisite reliability of the confidential
informants used. (Doc. 66.) The government opposes the
motion. (Doc. 73.) A hearing was held on December 12, 2019,
and the government called FBI Special Agent Levi Kroschel.
For the reasons stated below, Goodman's motion is denied.
seeks to suppress the evidence gathered as a result of five
separate warrants, three issued by a state district judge and
two issued by a United States magistrate judge. "The
burden is on the defendant who seeks to suppress evidence
obtained under a regularly issued search warrant to show the
want of probable cause." Chin Kay v. United
States, 311 F.2d3l7, 321 (9th Cir. 1962). The warrants
are addressed in turn.
first three warrants Goodman challenges were issued by the
state court and authorized audio recordings of controlled
buys by an informant. (See Docs. 67-1, 67-2, 67-3.)
Such recordings are specifically permitted by statute,
see 18 U.S.C. § 251 l(2)(c), and Goodman has no
Fourth Amendment privacy interest in what he voluntarily
stated to a cooperating individual who consented to the
recording, see United States v. White, 401 U.S. 745,
749-51 (1971); United States v. Wahchumwah, 710 F.3d
862, 867 (9th Cir. 2013). Nor would suppression be
appropriate under Montana law because "evidence obtained
from a consensual wiretap conforming to 18 U.S.C. § 251
l(2)(c) is admissible in federal court proceedings without
regard to state law." United States v. Adams,
694 F.2d 200, 201-02 (9th Cir. 1982). Thus, Goodman's
challenges to the first three warrants fail as a matter of
fourth warrant was issued by a federal magistrate and
authorized the collection of location data from Goodman's
cellular telephone. (See Doc. 67-4.) The government
has stated that "[t]here was no evidence obtained from
this warrant and none to be presented at trial." (Doc.
73 at 2.) Accordingly, Goodman's challenge to this
warrant is moot.
on the foregoing, the only warrant at issue involves the
search of Goodman's detached garage at 4700 Mullan Road.
(See Doc. 67-5.)
magistrate judge's finding of probable cause is entitled
to great deference" and a search warrant will not be
invalidated if the judge "had a 'substantial
basis' for concluding that the supporting affidavit
established probable cause." United States v.
Reeves, 210 F.3d 1041, 1046 (9th Cir. 2000) (internal
quotation marks omitted). "Probable cause exists when
the magistrate judge finds that, considering the totality of
the circumstances, there is a fair probability that
contraband or evidence of a crime will be found."
Id. (internal quotation marks and alteration
determination of whether information provided by confidential
informants establishes probable cause is assessed under the
totality of the circumstances. Illinois v. Gates,
462 U.S. 213, 238 (1983). Under this standard,
"[e]vidence bearing on the veracity of the informant and
his basis of knowledge is considered together with other
relevant evidence." United States v.
Angulo-Lopez, 791 F.2d 1394, 1396 (9th Cir. 1986). An
informant's "veracity" or trustworthiness may
be established by showing that the informant "provided
accurate information on past occasions," the informant
made "admissions against penal interest," or there
was "independent police corroboration of the information
provided." Id. at 1397; accord United
States v. Rowland, 464 F.3d 899, 907-908 (9th Cir.
2006). The "basis of knowledge" prong
"requires that the affiant set forth the underlying
circumstances that led the informant to believe that criminal
activity was occurring; a mere conclusory allegation that a
suspect was engaging in criminal activity is
insufficient." Angulo-Lopez, 791 F.2d at 1397.
"[A] weakness in either the 'veracity' or
'basis of knowledge' prong is not fatal to a finding
of probable cause, as long as the issuing magistrate had a
'substantial basis' for the finding."
Id. at 1396.