Minnesota District Court holds warrant for pen register was thin, but backed by probable cause.

In this case, the District Court was reviewing a Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation on a Motion to Suppress and a Motion to Suppress Statements. The investigation started when a concerned citizen contacted law enforcement alleging the defendant was distributing heroin. This led to a tracking device being placed on the defendant’s car and a pen register being placed on the defendant’s cell phone based on a warrant.

The Magistrate characterized the warrant applications as “thin” but not lacking of probable cause. The Court decided that the use by law enforcement of the term “concerned citizen” rather than “confidential informant” was neither misleading nor significant.

The Court also found that the good faith exception alternatively applied here.

The case is United States v. Thompson, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41169, 2019 WL 1075886, D. Minn. (March 5, 2019).

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