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Judicial Rubber-Stamping of Search Warrants Can Be Deadly

Added 08-10-22 01:21:03am EST - “Lethal drug raids in Louisville and Houston were based on fishy police affidavits that turned out to be fraudulent.” - Reason.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reason.com: “Judicial rubber-stamping of search warrants can be deadly”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

According to a federal indictment unsealed last week, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT and aspiring nurse who was killed during a 2020 drug raid in Louisville, Kentucky, died because a cop lied. According to a 2019 federal indictment, the same is true of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, a middle-aged couple killed during a drug raid in Houston that year.

When police officers invent facts to obtain search warrants, they are committing crimes, violating the Fourth Amendment, and instigating potentially lethal confrontations without a legal basis. Although outright lies may be difficult to detect in advance, more rigorous judicial review of police affidavits could have made a crucial difference in both of these cases.

When Louisville Detective Joshua Jaynes sought a warrant to search Taylor's apartment in March 2020, he claimed he had "verified through a U.S. Postal Inspector" that suspected drug dealer Jamarcus Glover, Taylor's former boyfriend, had been "receiving packages" at her apartment. After the raid that killed Taylor, Jaynes told investigators that information actually came from a colleague, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who supposedly told Jaynes "nonchalantly" that Glover "just gets Amazon or mail packages there."

According to the indictment against Jaynes, both claims were false. Furthermore, Jaynes' suggestion that the packages might contain drugs or drug money was inconsistent with the reference to Amazon shipments. Glover, who was arrested elsewhere the same night that police killed Taylor, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that "nothing illegal" was delivered to her apartment—just "shoes and clothes"—and that Taylor was not involved in his drug dealing.

Even with the ambiguous reference to "packages," the evidence implicating Taylor in her ex-boyfriend's criminal activities was thin. Jaynes reported that he had seen Glover outside Taylor's apartment and that he had seen Taylor's car parked in front of a house used by Glover "on different occasions," although he did not specify when or in what circumstances.

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