United States v. Artis, No. 18-10246 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
An otherwise properly issued search warrant is not rendered void for Fourth Amendment purposes merely because it was executed by law enforcement officers who lacked warrant-executing authority under state law. In this case, federal agents may have violated California law when they executed two search warrants issued by state court judges. Although California law authorizes "peace officers" to execute search warrants, it excludes federal law enforcement officers from the definition of that term.
The Ninth Circuit held that this violation of state law did not render the warrants invalid under the Fourth Amendment. The panel rejected defendants' alternative argument that the warrants should be assessed under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41. Nonetheless, the panel held that one warrant was invalid under the Fourth Amendment because it was not supported by probable cause. Therefore, the evidence seized pursuant to that warrant must be suppressed. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.