Colorado v. Cox

Believing there was a large marijuana grow on the agricultural and residential land owned by defendant David Cox, law enforcement officers obtained a warrant to search his home and packing shed. Cox was charged with multiple marijuana-related offenses and child abuse. In a pretrial motion, Cox sought to suppress all the evidence seized, arguing, among other things, that the search warrant lacked probable cause. Relying on evidence presented during the preliminary hearing, the trial court granted the motion, finding that certain conclusory statements in the affidavit regarding the presence of marijuana on Cox’s property should have been stricken. After review, the Colorado Supreme Court reversed the suppression order because the Court concluded the trial court erred: (1) by reviewing the magistrate’s probable cause determination de novo instead of according it great deference; (2) by failing to limit its review to the information contained within the four corners of the search warrant’s accompanying affidavit; and (3) by not giving the affidavit the presumption of validity to which it was entitled. “Presuming valid the information articulated within the four corners of the affidavit, we conclude that the magistrate had a substantial basis to find that probable cause existed to believe contraband or evidence of criminal activity would be located on Cox’s property. The trial court therefore erred in ruling that the affidavit failed to establish probable cause. On remand, the trial court should address Cox’s alternative request for a veracity hearing.” View "Colorado v. Cox" on Justia Law