Wisconsin v. Falbo
In Wisconsin v. Falbo, 190 Wis. 2d 328, 526 N.W.2d 814, 815 (1994) police obtained a search warrant based on information from an informant who stated that he made weekly trips to the defendant's residence to purchase cocaine.
The search warrant stated on its face that it would be valid only if certain events occurred, specifically the arrival at the residence of a certain car and certain persons. Id. at 816. When those events occurred, the officers would be able to search the car, and if illegal drugs were found, they would then be able to search the residence. Id. The search warrant also stated that it was only good for "the afternoon and evening hours" of a specific day. Id. While the house was under surveillance that day, the specified events occurred, and police executed the search warrant, finding cocaine and THC in the residence. Id.
The defendant argued to the appeals court that the search warrant should not have been issued because an anticipatory search warrant is only valid for a specific situation -- namely, where contraband is known to be in route to a certain residence. Id. at 817. The court disagreed, stating that the "sure course of delivery" component of the test for such warrants "merely serves as a way to show probable cause that the contraband will be at the residence at the time of the search." Id. The court then stated that their examination of such a search warrant for validity encompassed two questions:
First, we determine whether the probable cause affidavit established circumstances from which the affiant could conclude that the information was reliable. . . . Secondly, we decide whether the trial court had enough information upon which to determine that the underlying circumstances or manner in which the informant obtained his or her information was reliable. Id. at 817-18.
As to the first question, the court emphasized the fact that the police were able to independently verify certain pieces of information provided by the informant: The type of car a certain party owned, where that party lived, and the defendant's address. Id.
As to the second question, the court examined the evidence provided to the court by the police in the affidavits for indications that the informant had obtained the information in a reliable manner; given the informant's firsthand participation in the actual buy and the informant's information on an accomplice's movements, the court found that the "trial court had enough information upon which to determine that the underlying circumstances or manner in which the informant obtained his or her information was reliable." Id. at 818.