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Name: People v. Hirata
Case #: B212061
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 07/28/2009

Stale information in a search warrant does not establish present probable cause for a search. On September 4, 2007, police obtained a search warrant for the search of the residence of appellant and several other buildings. In the 53-page supporting affidavit, the officer related that he conducted a nine-month investigation of a drug trafficking organization and described numerous sales. The most recent reference to appellant was June 14, 2007, with no facts showing surveillance of appellant or his house after that date. The police conducted the search approved by the warrant on September 6, and discovered methamphetamine and other controlled substances. The trial court quashed the warrant, finding the information in the affidavit stale. Upholding the decision, the appellate court noted that the probable cause requirement considers whether evidence will be found at the time of the search. Although there is no bright-line rule as to staleness, information in the affidavit generally becomes stale after a four-week delay. Such delays may be justified where there is a reasonable inference that defendant’s actions will continue until the time of search; but with no reference as to appellant after June 14, such was not the case here. The search did not fall within the good-faith exclusionary rule because a reasonably well-trained officer would have recognized that probable cause to search appellant’s house had grown stale by the time the warrant was sought and executed.