Jefferson v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: June 28, 2019
  • Case #: 18-5306
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 2018 WL 1137518 (6th Cir. 2018)
  • Full Text Opinion

1. Whether an application for a search warrant to examine the contents of a cell phone seized incident to an arrest must show more to establish probable cause that evidence of criminal conduct will be found in the cell phone than only an opinion that criminal gang members commonly use cell phones to communicate about their plans 2. Whether the § 924(c) residual clause is unconstitutionally vague

Petitioner was indicted in federal court for RICO violations under 18 U.S.C. §1962(d) and for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. §924(c). Petitioner filed a pretrial motion to suppress evidence related to the forensic examination of cell phone contents, arguing the search warrant lacked probable cause as the supporting affidavit language did not describe a nexus between the cell phone and alleged criminal activity. The district court denied the motion. Petitioner was convicted of both charges and appealed. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. Petitioner sought certiorari by the United States Supreme Court, arguing that the circuit court failed to follow the rule in Zurcher v. Stanford Daily, 436 US 547 (1978) which requires probable cause to be based on a showing that certain “things” are likely to be located in the property searched. In relying on the Petitioner’s indictment, and the agent/affiant’s statements about the connection between cell phones and criminal activities, Petitioner claims that the lower court impermissibly utilized the agent’s opinion to support probable cause. Additionally, Petitioner maintains that the language in 18 U.S.C. §924(c) is unconstitutionally vague and improperly categorizes RICO conspiracy charges as crimes of violence. The Supreme Court granted certiorari and issued summary disposition in accordance with U.S. v. Davis, 588 U.S. ___ (2019). VACATED AND REMANDED.

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