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Search warrant that doesn’t list date the C.I. bought drugs from subject is admissible

Facts

In 2004, a confidential informant (C.I.) brought a small baggy of methamphetamine to Philadelphia P.D. and stated he purchased this from Byron Flake and saw more methamphetamine at Flake’s house. The C.I. told police he had purchased methamphetamine from Flake in the past.

The police officer was aware that this particular C.I. had previously offered reliable information which had led to several drug convictions. The affidavit for the search warrant for Flake’s residence contained the above information, but did not indicate the date that the C.I. made the most recent methamphetamine purchase.

The next day, the search warrant was executed and methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia was found in the house. Additionally, a water pipe, plastic baggies with a residue, plastic baggies with crystals, a box of approximately fifty glass tubes, and a residential gas bill in Flake’s name with the trailer’s address was also seized. The drugs and paraphernalia were found in Flake’s kitchen and master bathroom, respectively. Evidence showed Flake lived in this trailer alone.

Flake was convicted of possession of methamphetamine and sentenced to eight years. On appeal, he argued that search warrant was faulty because it did not specify the date when the C.I. bought the methamphetamine. MCOA affirmed.

Analysis

MSC said in Lee v. State, 435 So. 2d 674 (Miss. 1983), that the standard for determining the existence of probable cause for a search warrant based on an informant is the totality of the circumstances.

Flake is correct in asserting that staleness of information may be a defect in probable cause for search warrants. However, it is our opinion that the facts here do not imply that the information forming the basis for the probable cause was stale. MSC held in Meyer v. State, 309 So. 2d 161 (Miss. 1975), that the affidavit will be interpreted in a common sense manner when the circumstances are detailed, the reason for crediting the source of information is given, and the judicial officer has found probable cause.

In our case, the affidavit was detailed, the confidential informant was an eyewitness to illegal acts, and he had a reliable track record. It defies common sense to believe that the confidential informant purchased methamphetamine from Flake and then carried it around for several weeks before notifying the police.

Further, it can be reasonably inferred that the drugs were purchased from Flake close to the time the informant contacted the police because of the fact that the informant stated he had bought other drugs from Flake “in the past,” which implies that this particular purchase was recent. We find no merit to Flake’s argument that under the given facts the warrant was fatally defective because of inadequate probable cause.

 

https://courts.ms.gov/images/Opinions/CO38738.pdf