United States v. Skarda, No. 15-3889 (8th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Defendant appealed his convictions for distribution of methamphetamine, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of cocaine, and possession of a firearm by a drug user. Defendant argues that changing the address on the search warrant violated Rule 41 and Rule 4.1 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and further invalidated the search warrant. The court concluded that the phone conversation between an FBI agent and the magistrate judge was not recorded and thus violated Rule 4.1. However, as the district court correctly held, suppressing the evidence was not the correct remedy. In this case, the violation was not one of constitutional magnitude, defendant was not prejudiced by the violation, and there is no evidence of an intentional and deliberate or reckless disregard for the rule. The court also concluded that the affidavit established a clear nexus between drug dealing and defendant's residence, such that the mere address change had no effect on the validity of the warrant. The description was sufficient, and the district court properly determined that probable cause existed to search the property located at the address. Finally, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of witness intimidation where the testimony was used to show defendant was guilty of the charged crime, and was not excessively emotional or inflammatory. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.