People of the VI v. John, No. 09-4185 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
After being told, by children, that defendant, a teacher, had touched them inappropriately and kept a notebook of information about students, an officer applied for a warrant to search defendant's home for child pornography. The affidavit established only probable cause to believe that she would find evidence of sexual assaulted on children; it did not allege any direct evidence that defendant possessed child pornography or any connection between the two crimes. The search turned up incriminating documents relating to the alleged assaults, but no child pornography. The district court suppressed the documents. The First Circuit affirmed. A probable cause affidavit must set forth all the facts upon which the affiant seeks to rely; the affidavit in this case omitted the linchpin allegation on which any reasonable belief in the existence of probable cause must have depended. The government cannot draw an inference from facts not stated in the affidavit or rely on the affiant's personal knowledge.