Monday, March 8, 2021


        On Monday, the Sixth Circuit issued a opinions in United States v. White and United States v. Mathews.

        In White, the Court reversed the granting of a suppression motion. The district court had found the search warrant affidavit lacked probable cause because there was little evidence contraband would be found inside the home. The facts are simple. And sparse. An undercover agent twice approached Jared Conkle, a suspected drug dealer, and requested to purchase cocaine. On both occasions the undercover agent observed Conkle, after the request to purchase cocaine was made, enter White’s home, and return to the agent to complete the drug transaction. The Sixth Circuit found “Conkle’s visit to White’s house between the offer and sale raised a ‘common-sense’ inference and a ‘fair probability’ that he obtained drugs from White’s house.” No further evidence was needed to find probable cause that drugs would be found inside White's home.

        White also attempted to challenge the no-knock entry portion of the warrant under the Fourth Amendment. The Sixth Circuit concluded that even if “the police violated the knock-and-announce rule, suppression is not the appropriate remedy.” Instead, the remedy lies in an action under § 1983.

        In Mathews, the Sixth Circuit affirmed a denial of a motion for compassionate release, finding the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding the 3553(a) factors did not support relief. While the holding in this case is not particularly noteworthy, other parts of the opinion are. Judge Moore, in portion of the opinion not joined by Judges Rodgers or Readler, provides background and statistical data of COVID-19. Judge Readler, in a concurring opinion, questions her reliance on such statistics. Judge Moore responds in a nearly page-long footnote. This footnote is worth a read. See also

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