4th Amendment Violation.

Byline: Derek Hawkins

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Edward Bishop

Case No.: 18-2019

Officials: EASTERBROOK, SYKES, and SCUDDER, Circuit Judges.

Focus: 4th Amendment Violation

A drug deal went wrong. After receiving a dose of pepper spray from his customer, Edward Bishop shot her in the arm. A jury convicted him of discharging a firearm during a drug transaction, 18 U.S.C. 924(c), and the judge sentenced him to 120 months' imprisonment. He presents one contention on appeal: that the warrant authorizing a search of his cell phonea search that turned up incriminating evidenceviolated the Fourth Amendment's requirement that every warrant "particularly describe the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Andresen and its successors show that specificity is a relative maher. A warrant may be thought "too general" only if some more-specific alternative would have done better at protecting privacy while still permitting legitimate investigation. See United States v. Vitek Supply Corp., 144 F.3d 476, 482 (7th Cir. 1998); United States v. Bentley, 825 F.2d 1104, 1110 (7th Cir. 1987). So if the police had known that Andresen kept all of his files about the real-estate deal in a particular cabinet, failure to identify that cabinet in the warrant would have violated the constitutional particularity requirement. But a warrant need not be more specific than knowledge allows. In Andresen the police did not...

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