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Search Warrants – Staleness

State v. Sheldon C. Stank, 2005 WI App 236
For Stank: Dennis P. Coffey

Issue: Whether a time lag of two months between the informant’s observations and the application for the search warrant rendered the warrant stale.

Holding: Passage of time dose not alone render probable cause stale; the warrant-issuing court may consider various factors, ¶33 (citing State v. Multaler, 2002 WI 35, ¶¶36-37, 252 Wis. 2d 54, 643 N.W.2d 437):

¶34      The court here had ample basis to conclude that probable cause existed.  It heard Oehler’s testimony that he bought $50 worth of marijuana from Stank on a weekly basis, that he had been to Stank’s residence over 500 times, that every time Oehler was at the residence, he would see the same group of other individuals there to buy drugs, and that Stank had showed him a firearm he owned … The court was also entitled to rely on Detective Glidewell’s testimony that in his experience, such operations did not just suddenly cease.  Moreover, the nature of the evidence sought—drugs and drug paraphernalia, cash and ledgers, and weapons that a dealer might use to protect his drugs—were directly related to that continuous and ongoing activity.  In light of these factors, the roughly two-month passage of time did not significantly diminish the probability that the officers would uncover evidence of drug dealing.


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