Unpublished Disposition, 884 F.2d 1395 (9th Cir. 1989)

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US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 884 F.2d 1395 (9th Cir. 1989)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.Patrick Brian GRADY, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 88-3029.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Argued and Submitted June 29, 1989.Decided Aug. 30, 1989.

Before FARRIS, NOONAN and LEAVY, Circuit Judges.


Patrick Grady appeals both the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence and its imposition of a twelve year prison sentence for possession with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a) (1) and (b) (1) (A). We affirm.

A. Choice of Law. Grady contends that our review of whether probable cause supported the issuance of the warrant under which evidence was seized is governed by Washington law because the local police acted independently of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Even assuming that local police acted independently, Grady's contention lacks merit because the admissibility in federal court of evidence obtained by state police is governed by federal law. See United States v. Chavez-Vernaza, 844 F.2d 1368, 1372-74 (9th Cir. 1988).

B. Probable Cause to Issue the Search Warrant. Grady contends that the affidavit supporting the warrant did not establish probable cause because the informants were unreliable and their statements were uncorroborated. This contention lacks merit.

We review the issuance of search warrants by examining "whether the magistrate had substantial basis for concluding that the affidavit in support of the warrant established probable cause." United States v. Angulo-Lopez, 791 F.2d 1394, 1396 (9th Cir. 1987). "This inquiry is less probing than de novo review and shows deference to the issuing magistrate's determination." Id.

The official issuing a warrant must look to the totality of the circumstances to determine the existence of probable cause. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238 (1983). An informant's reliability and basis of knowledge are relevant to the probable cause determination, but "a deficiency in one [of these two factors] may be compensated for ... by a strong showing as to the other, or by some other indicia of reliability." Id. at 233. An informant's veracity may be established by independent police corroboration of the details provided by the informant. Angulo-Lopez, 791 F.2d at 1397.

Here, the affidavit's statement that the informants personally observed the cocaine constitutes a strong basis of knowledge. Also, much of the information provided by the informants was independently corroborated by the police. Accordingly, we conclude that issuance of the warrant was supported by probable cause.

II. Constitutionality of Mandatory Sentencing Provisions

Grady contends that the mandatory minimum sentence provisions of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b) (1) (A) are unconstitutional because they constitute cruel and unusual punishment and violate the separation of powers doctrine. This court has already considered those challenges to section 841(b) (1) (A) and found them meritless. United States v. Kinsey, 843 F.2d 383, 392-93 (9th Cir.) cert. denied, 109 S. Ct. 99 (1988).

Grady also contends that section 841(b) (1) (A) violates due process and equal protection because it does not take into account the purity of the substance, only its quantity. This contention lacks merit. In United States v. Klein, 860 F.2d 1489, 1501 (9th Cir. 1988), we evaluated the due process and equal protection implications of section 841(b) (1) (B) and held that a mandatory minimum sentence based on quality rather than purity does not violate due process or equal protection. Our reasoning in Klein applies equally to section 841(b) (1) (A).



This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3