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Name: United States v. Grubbs
Case #: 04-1414
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 03/21/2006

A magistrate judge issued an “anticipatory” search warrant for appellant’s house, which would not be executed until a package containing a child pornography video, ordered from an undercover postal inspector, arrived at the house. The affidavit supporting the warrant described the house and the items to be seized. The Ninth Circuit reversed the denial of appellant’s suppression motion, finding that the warrant ran afoul of the Fourth Amendment’s particularity requirement. The Supreme Court granted review, and reversed the decision of the Ninth Circuit. Anticipatory warrants are not unconstitutional. The fact that the contraband is not presently at the place described in the warrant is immaterial, as long as there is probable cause to believe it will be there when the warrant is executed. Here, the triggering condition – the delivery of the videotape- would establish probable cause for the search, and the affidavit established probable cause to believe the triggering condition would be satisfied. Further, the warrant did not violate the Fourth Amendment’s particularity requirement by failing to include the conditions precedent to execution of the warrant. The warrant must only describe the thing to be seized and the place to be searched.