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Franks Hearings & Justifiable Search Warrants

Kalamazoo Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Hills
Kalamazoo Attorney Michael D. Hills

“A Franks Hearing is a court proceeding wherein the court is asked to determine if the police officer involved lied in obtaining a search warrant.”

If a defendant in a court case has reason to believe that one of the police officers involved in the case lied to obtain a search warrant, there may be grounds for a Franks hearing. A prime example of this can be found in People of the State of Michigan v. Marcus Dwane Manning, a case that discusses a trial court’s obligation to conduct a Franks hearing.

Possible Grounds for A Franks Hearing 

A trial court is obligated to conduct a Franks hearing only if the defendant makes a preliminary showing that: 1) The affiant knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth, included a false statement in the warrant affidavit; and, 2) that the allegedly false statement was necessary to a finding of probable cause.

An Illustration: Michigan v. Manning 

In the above-mentioned case, the Defendant filed a motion for a Franks evidentiary hearing after being convicted of several charges. The Defendant claimed that the search warrant issued, used to search a hotel room rented by the Defendant, was obtained based on false information, and, therefore, the incriminating evidence discovered in executing that search warrant should have been inadmissible.

The Defendant’s argument for a Franks hearing was based on two points. First, that the search warrant in question erroneously listed the Defendant’s name as “Marcellus Manning,” rather than Marcus Manning. Second, that a photo of another party involved, which contributed in part to the Defendant’s conviction, was not submitted to the party’s family to confirm the party’s identity.

The Defendant argued that, with these supposedly tainted allegations removed from the affidavit, the remaining allegations would be insufficient to support probable cause for a search warrant. As such, the argument continued, the search that took place was invalid.

Ultimately, the Defendant’s request for a Franks hearing was denied. In response to the Defendant’s first point, the trial court stated that, despite the first name being incorrect, there was still sufficient probable cause—this would apply even if no first name were listed, as there was ample evidence that a crime was taking place in a room rented by a man with the surname Manning. To counter the Defendant’s second point, the court concluded that the Defendant didn’t present any authority requiring the police to have the identity of the person in the photograph confirmed by a family member.

The court determined that the Defendant failed to show that the police acted improperly in gathering information pursuant to obtaining a warrant, and, therefore, a Franks hearing was not granted. 

Justifiable Search Warrant Issued? Contact Hills Law for a Franks Hearings Defense Today

Hills at Law, P.C., handles all types of criminal defense cases in the Kalamazoo, Michigan area, including Franks hearings. For more information or assistance with your case, contact Hills Law today. Our defense attorneys service eight southwest Michigan counties.

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