Bakersfield, CA asked in Criminal Law for California

Q: Does the two part test of the vorasity of a confidential informant apply in California for search warrant

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Mr. Thomas Geoffrey Feimer
Mr. Thomas Geoffrey Feimer
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Lakeport, CA

A: The short answer is "no."

It sounds like you are referring to the old "Aguilar-Spinelli" test, which held that (1) the magistrate had to be be informed of the reasons to support the conclusion that such an informant is reliable and credible, and (2) the magistrate must be informed of some of the underlying circumstances relied on by the person providing the information. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Illinois v. Gates (1983) 462 U.S. 213, abandoned this test in favor of a "totality of the circumstances" test. Under this test the Aguilar-Spinelli factors remain very important to the magistrate's decision to issue the warrant, but the Supreme Court abandoned any rigid formula. "[The factors] should be understood simply as closely intertwined issues that may usefully illuminate the common sense, practical question whether there is 'probable cause' to believe that contraband or evidence is located in a particular place."

Some states have kept the Aguilar-Spinelli test, because state constitutions may impose stricter standards on searches and seizures than the US Constitution. However, with the adoption of Proposition 8 in 1982, California abolished independent state grounds for excluding evidence, so current U.S. Supreme Court precedent (like Gates) controls.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.