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The People v. Robert Samuel French

December 14, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
ROBERT SAMUEL FRENCH, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



Superior Court of Humboldt County, No. CR1001560B, W. Bruce Watson, Judge, and Harold E. Neville, Jr., Judge (retired). (Humboldt County Super. Ct. No. CR1001560B)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Simons, J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

A search warrant affidavit contains information from three informants, none of whom are reliable. Each informant states two named individuals are selling drugs from a particular residence and drive a particular vehicle. The affiant officer corroborates those facts and determines that one of the alleged drug dealers has a history of narcotics offenses, but fails to include in the affidavit the dates and any details of those offenses. We conclude that the affidavit was insufficient to establish probable cause to issue the warrant, in part because the police corroboration of the informants' statements and the "interlocking" details of those statements related to "pedestrian" facts. However, we find the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule applicable and affirm.

BACKGROUND

In March 2010, Eureka Police Officer Gary Cooper sought a warrant to search the persons of Robert Samuel French (defendant) and Maria Camacho, a house on Summer Street in Eureka where defendant and Camacho resided, and a black pickup truck owned by defendant.

Cooper's affidavit in support of the application for a search warrant stated in relevant part:

"In the latter part of 2009 I arrested a subject and took him to jail. While enroute [to] the jail I asked the subject who he knew that was dealing drugs in Eureka. The subject told me of a person named Robert who lived on the corner of Harris and Summer. I asked the subject how he knew Robert was selling drugs. The subject told me his wife bought her heroin from Robert. I was driving on Broadway going towards the jail. I drove up Harris Street and asked the subject to point the house out to me as we drove past. As we drove past the subject pointed to the residence on the south east corner of Harris and Summer Streets. The subject also said Robert drove the black colored truck that was parked in front of the residence on Summer Street.

"After dropping the subject off at the jail I drove back to the residence on the corner of Harris and Summer Street. The black truck was still parked in front of the residence on the summer street side. I ran a registration check on the vehicle. The return information from dispatch showed the vehicle was registered to Robert French with an address of 3105 Summer Street.

"On 02-10-10 Officer J. Braud and I were talking to a person who here in will be referred to as confidential reliable informant one. (CRI-1). I was talking to CRI-1 about people in Eureka who sold drugs, specifically heroin or meth. CRI-1 told us a woman named Maria and her boyfriend Robert who were selling heroin. I asked CRI-1 where Maria and Robert lived. CRI-1 said they lived on the corner of Harris and Summer Street. I asked CRI-1 if Robert or Maria drove any cars. CRI-1 said [he/she] only knew of a black colored full size truck Robert drove. I asked CRI-1 if [he/she] knew the last names of Maria and Robert. CRI-1 said he/she knew Maria's last name was Camacho. [He/she] said he/she didn't know Robert's last name. I asked CRI-1 where Camacho keeps her drugs she sells. [He/she] said she keeps it in the front of her pants so if she gets stopped by a male police officer he won't search the front of her pants. CRI-1 said she also keeps it in a back pack she keeps with her.

"I asked CRI-1 if Robert was also selling. CRI-1 said Robert does sell meth and heroin, but not as much as Maria.

"On -2-24-10 I talked with a person who here in will be referred to as CRI-2. CRI-2 has given information to law enforcement in the past. The information was corroborated and criminal cases were made behind the information.

"I asked CRI-2 who [he/she] knew that was selling drugs. CRI-2 told me of a woman named Maria Camacho who lived on the corner of Harris and Summer Street. CRI-2 said Camacho deals heroin and meth out of her house with her boyfriend. I asked CRI-2 if [he/she] knew the name of Camacho's boyfriend and if he was selling meth and heroin also. CRI-2 said he/she only knew the boyfriend's first name as Ron and Ron was also selling meth and heroin out of the house.

"I asked CRI-2 if [he/she] knew of any vehicles Camacho and Ron might drive. CRI-2 said Ron drives a black truck and Camacho drives a big red sedan.

"I believe based on the previous information I have regarding Robert French that Ron is actually Robert. This is based on the registered owner information on the black truck and other people telling me there is a Robert living at the residence.

"I ran a criminal history check on Camacho through dispatch. The return information showed she has multiple arrests and convictions for possession of controlled substance for sale, and transportation of controlled substance.

"I have talked with CRI-2 on and off for the last two weeks, CRI-2 told me both Robert and Maria are still dealing out of their house on Harris and Summer Street. I asked CRI-2 how [he/she] knew this. He/she said [he/she] has been to their house recently and has seen people who came to the house. CRI-2 saw Robert and Maria take them in another room. The people left a short time ...


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