YoungBoy Never Broke Again has scored a partial victory in his federal firearms case in his home state of Louisiana.
According to court documents filed on Feb. 24, obtained by XXL today (March 2), Judge Shelly D. Dick of the United States District Court Middle District of Louisiana has granted one of the motions the rapper’s legal team presented, which would suppress—or exclude—evidence via an SD Media card that contained both video and images that appear to show YoungBoy, born Kentrell Gauden, possessing firearms. The motion to suppress the firearm evidence that was obtained at the time of YB’s arrest in Baton Rouge, La. in September of 2020, however, was denied.
The arrest took place at YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s video shoot, where himself and 15 others were taken into custody by the Baton Rouge Police Department. A call had been made to police that “a group of people were on Chippewa Street carrying firearms and filming a rap music video” and weapons were brandished on the set of the video. Numerous individuals fled the scene when police arrived, including a man named Marvin Ramsey, YB’s cameraman according to The Advocate, who was caught and in possession of a firearm and a black Sony 7R camera on a rotating mount, which contained an SD card.
The court filing states that NBA YoungBoy was charged with possessing the firearm that Ramsey was carrying and was seeking to have that evidence struck from the case.
Warrants were issued for seven vehicles at the scene of the arrest, but only two—a Cadillac SUV and an Acura SUV—are relevant to the case as a second firearm was found in the Acura and the SD cards, which were in a camera bag that also contained firearm magazines for Ramsey’s weapon and a letter addressed to Ramsey, were found in the Cadillac.
In the legal document, YoungBoy argues that “the firearms and SD card media are fruits of the illegal detentions of ‘Gaulden, Ramsey, and [the other people arrested] on September 28, 2020.’ He seeks suppression under the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine.” The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine extends the rule to excuse evidence admissible in court if it was illegally obtained, which YB is claiming to be true.
YoungBoy argues that Corporal Barnett (“Cpl. Barnett”) of the BRPD Street Crimes Unit, who applied for the search warrants, used “falsehoods” and omitted information when requesting permission to search the vehicles, which invalidates the warrants.
The filing states, “Gaulden challenges the warrants for the Cadillac and Acura. He argues that the warrants were unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment because they lack particularity. Moreover, he argues that the probable cause affidavits used to obtain the warrants, all authored by Cpl. Barnett, contained numerous falsehoods and material omissions, so the warrants are invalid under the Supreme Court’s decision in Franks v. Delaware. On that basis, he seeks to suppress the firearm found in the Acura as the fruit of an unconstitutional warrant. He also seeks to suppress the SD Card Media as the fruit of the unconstitutional warrant to search the Cadillac.”
Franks v. Delaware is a U.S. Supreme Court case that is centered around a defendant’s right to challenge evidence that was obtained using a warrant based on false information.
Judge Dick presented this question before the court: “When a camera is found at the scene of a suspected possession crime, but it is unknown which of several suspects possessed the contraband, is there probable cause to search the camera for photographic evidence of who possessed the contraband? In this case, the question is narrowed because the post-excision affidavit contains nothing to indicate that the camera contained evidence of crimes.”
Thus, there was no probable cause to seize the media card or assume that content on the card would be connected to the crime just because it was at the scene.
Dick also included:
“The first mistake, failing to particularize the items to be seized, is akin to the mistake in Allen. The affidavit included the request to “look through the Sony 7R camera, SD cards, and MacBook pro to help determine who had possession of which firearm.” Thus, as in Allen, it can be gleaned that the issuing judge understood what Cpl. Barnett intended to search for. The failure to particularize, therefore, does not rise to the level of police misconduct that evokes the exclusionary rule.
The second mistake rests with the officer that executed the warrant. As explained above, the warrant does not authorize the search of the camera, SD cards, and computer. This failure is clear on the face of the warrant, which is barely over a page long. The executing officer should have known that he lacked legal authority to search the items listed on the warrant.
The Court finds that the executing officer’s mistake of failing to read and understand the scope of authority that the warrant conveyed rises to the level of gross negligence that the exclusionary rule is designed to deter. To hold otherwise would encourage executing officers to assume—rather than read—the contents of a warrant and structure their searches based on what the affiant requested, rather than what the issuing judge actually granted. The Court cannot find that the executing officer acted in objectively reasonable good faith when simply reading the warrant would have exposed its fatal flaw. Therefore, the Leon good faith exception to the exclusionary rule does not apply.”
Allen refers to the case of Leon in United States v. Allen. The government conceded that the challenged warrant was not sufficiently particularized and that, while there was an attachment that listed the items to be seized, it was not incorporated in the warrant.[via]