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Spinelli v.United States 393 U.S.

410 (1969) Author: Libby STATEMENT OF THE CASE: Spinelli (D) argued that the evidence gathered was inadmissible having been obtained pursuant to a search warrant improperly issued on the basis of a confidential informant's tip, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The warrant lacked probable cause. PROCEDURE BELOW: The D was convicted of traveling in interstate commerce with the intention of conducting illegal gambling activities. The District Court refused to suppress evidence obtained through a search of an apartment. On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case. STATEMENT OF THE FACTS: The D was convicted for traveling to Missouri from Illinois with the intention of gambling. D appealed, challenging the search warrant obtained by the FBI to obtain evidence. The application on which the warrant was based included four main parts: 1. The FBI had tracked D for five days, during four of which he traveled from Illinois to a certain apartment house in Missouri, and on one day he was further tracked to a specific apartment in the building; 2. Two phone numbers are associated with the specific apartment; 3. The government officials stated that this person was a known bookie; and 4. A reliable informant told the FBI that D was a bookie and used the two phone numbers associated with the apartment in Missouri. LEGAL ISSUE: Does an informant's tip provide probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant if the tip does not state reasons why the informant is reliable and does not include specifics regarding the facts known by the informant? HOLDING: An informant's tip does not provide probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant if the tip does not state reasons why the informant is reliable and does not include specifics regarding the facts known by the informant. OVERVIEW: Defendant challenged the constitutionality of the warrant that authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) search, which uncovered the evidence necessary for his conviction. The warrant was granted by a magistrate judge upon an affidavit stating that the FBI had observed defendant's travels to and from an apartment and that a confidential reliable informant had informed the authorities that defendant was operating a gambling operation. On certiorari, the court found that the application for the warrant was inadequate because it failed to set forth the underlying circumstances necessary to enable the magistrate to independently judge the validity of the informant's information. Also the affiant-officers failed to support their claim that their informant was "credible" or his information "reliable." The bald assertion that defendant was "known" as a gambler was entitled to no weight in appraising the magistrate's decision and the Court rejected as imprecise the "totality of circumstances" approach embraced by the court of appeals. Thus, the affidavit fell short of providing probable REASONING: (Harlan, J.) An informant's tip does not provide probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant if the tip does not state reasons why the informant is reliable and does not include specifics regarding the facts known by the informant IN SUFFICIENT DETAIL SO THAT THE MAGISTRATE MAY KNOW HE IS RELYING ON SOMETHING MORE SUBSTANTIAL THAN A CASUAL RUMOR. The Aguilar two part test is used: 1. Is the information reliable? 2. Is the informant reliable? In this case, there are no facts provided in the informant's tip to explain

why the informant thought D was involved in gambling. The FBI also did not provide any reasons why they thought this particular informant was reliable. Therefore, there was no probable cause to issue the warrant. The conviction should be overturned. Reversed, for D. CONCURRENCE: (White, J.) The Draper approach would justify the issuance of a warrant in this case; nonetheless, pending a full reconsideration of that case and the Aguilar-Nathanson cases, a vote to affirm would produce an equally divided court. CRITICAL SUMMARY: I agree with the decision; otherwise, the authorities could fabricate their own tips and have almost unlimited access to our homes.

AGULARA TEST: [1] RELIABILITY--- IN THIS CASE WE NEED TO KNOW WHY THE INFORMATN IS RELIABLE, A TRACK RECORD WOULD HELP, (can be coroberated (helps w/ great details), track reckord, veracity) [2] BASIS OF KNOWLEDGE ---IN THIS CASE WE DONT KNOW HOW THE INFORMAT GOT THE INFO