Tuesday, December 24, 2013

United States v. Jeffrey Grubbs case brief

United States v. Jeffrey Grubbs case brief summary
547 U.S. 90 (2006)

Defendant pled guilty to one count of receiving a visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, 18 U.S.C.S. § 2252(a)(2), but appealed the denial of his motion to suppress the evidence seized during the search of his residence. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the search was illegal since a triggering condition was not listed in the warrant. Certiorari was granted.

Defendant purchased a videotape containing child pornography from a Web site operated by an undercover postal inspector. Postal inspection officers arranged a controlled delivery of a package containing the videotape to defendant's residence. A postal inspector submitted a search warrant application to a magistrate judge accompanied by an affidavit describing the proposed operation in detail. The magistrate judge issued the warrant on the basis of an affidavit explaining that the warrant would be executed only after the controlled delivery, but that triggering condition was not listed in the warrant.


  • The Court held that anticipatory warrants were lawful and that the occurrence of the triggering condition plainly established probable cause for the search. 
  • In addition, the affidavit established probable cause to believe the triggering condition would be satisfied since although it was possible that the defendant could have refused delivery of the videotape he had ordered, that was unlikely.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was reversed, and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

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