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United States v. Hines

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

March 22, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
William Eugene Hines, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued: March 8, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky at Louisville. No. 3:16-cr-00005-1-Joseph H. McKinley Jr., Chief District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          Amanda B. Harris, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellant.

          Michael R. Mazzoli, COX & MAZZOLI PLLC, Louisville, Kentucky, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Amanda B. Harris, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., Terry M. Cushing, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Louisville, Kentucky, for Appellant.

          Michael R. Mazzoli, COX & MAZZOLI PLLC, Louisville, Kentucky, for Appellee.

          Before: MOORE, COOK, and McKEAGUE, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          COOK, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Not all search warrant affidavits include the same ingredients. It is the mix that courts review to decide whether evidence generated from the search may be used or must be suppressed. Some affidavits describe in fine detail a confidential informant's reliability, whereas others emphasize the tipster's basis of knowledge. Some discuss controlled drug buys by police officers looking to corroborate a tip, and others spotlight a suspect's criminal history. There isn't a singular formula; we consider the affidavit proper if, in its totality, it sufficiently demonstrates probable cause for that search warrant.

         Finding the affidavit in this case insufficient to establish probable cause, the district court suppressed evidence recovered during a search. We decide that the totality of the circumstances dictates otherwise, however, and REVERSE.

         I.

         A.

         On December 15, 2015, Louisville Metropolitan Police Department Detective Daniel Evans submitted to Kentucky Circuit Court Judge McKay Chauvin an affidavit for a search warrant of the single-family residence at 668 Eastlawn Avenue in Louisville. The affidavit set forth the following information.

         In July 2015, Louisville law enforcement officers learned from a "reliable confidential informant"-referred to as "CS1" throughout the affidavit, without any other identifying information-that William Hines was "selling large amounts of heroin" out of 668 Eastlawn. Surveillance of that house, owned by Hines's mother, over the ensuing months tracked Hines's regular comings and goings.

         On December 14, 2015, CS1 informed Detective Evans that CS1 "had seen an amount of heroin at" 668 Eastlawn that day. Also on December 14, Detective Evans received further information about Hines "from another reliable confidential source"-referred to as "CS2" in the affidavit. CS2 said Hines had contacted him that day and proposed that they meet at a club called Legends to discuss an incoming heroin shipment. After he met with Hines, CS2 informed Detective Evans that Hines wanted CS2 to meet him at 668 Eastlawn the following day, where Hines would provide CS2 ...


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