Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Johnson v. State (Ct. of Special Appeals)

Decided December 26, 2006 -- Opinion by Judge Paul E. Alpert, Concurring Opinion by Chief Judge Joseph F. Murphy, Jr.

Appellant sought to exclude evidence obtained pursuant to a search warrant and supporting documentation authorizing a search of the residence, car and person of both Appellant and an unidentified third party, on the grounds that the State did not provide Appellant an opportunity to inspect that warrant with respect to the third party. The trial court refused to exclude such evidence and the Court of Special Appeals upheld the trial court, noting that:

1) Appellant had no standing to challenge on constitutional or other ground the validity of warrant against the third party;

2) The State had an interest in maintaining the confidentiality of confidential informants, an interest conceded by the Appellant;

3) Appellant had not requested an in camera review of redacted version of the warrant materials for the purpose of obtaining of possible exculpatory evidence;

4) Appellant had not preserved the issue in prior proceedings of whether the application for the warrant for the unidentified person may have tainted the warrant application for the search of Appellant's person and property; and

5) The State did not call or intend to call the unidentified person as a witness against the Defendant, and therefore the material was not discoverable under Rule 4-263(c)(2).

Chief Judge Murphy noted in a brief concurring opinion that the case at bar did not present the issues of the use of the warrant material for the unidentified person for cross-examination purposes or for proving a tainted warrant application by the strategic misinformation or omissions by an affiant to produce the illusion of probable cause.

The full opinions are available in WPD and PDF.

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