Sunday, June 24, 2007

Eye In The Sky Finds Pot Plantation

State v. Blow, No. 06-1096 (Iowa Ct. App. June 13, 2007)

Blow's property was overflown by a National Guard chopper with a Henry County deputy on board in what is known as a drug interdiction flyover. A marijuana patch was identified.

Although later determined not to be on Blow's property a search warrant was issued based on the deputy's affidavit, and a search of Blow's home revealed abundant evidence of marijuana manufacturing. Blow argued the evidence must be suppressed for lack of probable cause because the warrant was invalid for his property, but the trial court denied the motion.

On appeal Blow argued that there was no nexus between the plants and his property and that the deputy made false statements and acted with reckless disregard for the truth. Blow also argued that no proof had been adduced that the home was his residence. Blow in fact owned the property, and he received mail there.

The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that Blow had not established that the deputy acted with reckless disregard for the truth in an effort to mislead the issuing magistrate. The magistrate was told that the plants were 75 to 100 yards from a shed on Blow's property with a trail leading from the patch to an area between the shed and the house.

There were other pathways around the patch that the officer did not inform the magistrate of in the affidavit, but a path to a field and a wooded area did not cast doubt on the conclusion that there was a nexus between the plants and the house.

Blow's prior convictions didn't help either.


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