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United States v. Parker

373 F.3d 770 (2004)

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United States v. Parker

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

373 F.3d 770 (2004)

Facts

After a vacancy occurred in the Ohio County, Kentucky, judicial district, Judge Renona Browning swore in Michelle Madison as the temporary trial commissioner for the county. Madison was Judge Browning’s brother’s widow. As the temporary trial commissioner, Madison was responsible for issuing warrants. Madison was also employed as a chief lieutenant deputy jailer at the Ohio County Detention Center. Madison’s responsibilities in that role were more administrative than a traditional jailer’s duties. Madison did not carry a weapon, wear a uniform, or typically participate in the monitoring of prisoners. Madison had been hired and was supervised by the jailer, who was a law enforcement official, and was employed by the law enforcement agency responsible for the jail, however. In these two roles, Madison was in the position to both issue arrest warrants and collect various jail fees from anyone arrested under those warrants. Madison eventually signed two search warrants to search a house. That search turned up 71 firearms, drugs, explosives, and stolen property that implicated the house’s residents, Barbara Jean Sutton and Peter Sutton, as well as David Parker (defendants). At trial, the district court concluded that the search warrants were invalid because Madison was not a neutral and detached party to the warrant-issuing process because she also worked at the detention center. As a result, the court suppressed the evidence seized under those warrants. The prosecution filed an interlocutory appeal to challenge the suppression of the evidence.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Duggan, J.)

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