Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Time to Clean Up the Candyman Mess!

United States v. Coreas, Docket No. 03-1790-cr (2d Cir. Oct. 12, 2005) (Jacobs, Calabresi, Rakoff) (per curiam): Yesterday, the Circuit denied defendant Coreas’s petition for rehearing, thus adding to the confusion surrounding the legality of the Candyman search warrants. To recap the relevant events, in chronological order, for those not keeping score at home:

(1st) In United States v. Martin (click here for our discussion), the majority upheld (over a dissent by Judge Pooler) a search warrant based primarily on the defendant’s membership in the “girls12-16” e-group.

(2nd) In United States v. Coreas, (click here for our discussion), the Court was confronted with essentially the same affidavit at issue in Martin (containing the same false statements by the same agent) but concerning the Candyman e-group rather than the girls12-16 e-group. The panel found the differences between the two groups to be immaterial and concluded, contrary to Martin, that the search warrant was not supported by probable cause. The panel nonetheless affirmed Coreas’s conviction, given the earlier ruling in Martin and the well-established rule that a later panel is bound by the decision of an earlier panel.

(3rd) On October 4th, the majority in Martin denied the defendant’s petition for rehearing. (click here for our discussion). Among other things, the majority (once again over a dissent by Judge Pooler) explained that the Coreas panel erred in believing that no material difference existed between the Candyman e-group and the girls12-16 e-group.

(4th) Finally, on October 12th, the panel in Coreas denied the defendant’s petition for rehearing, once again concluding that it was bound by the original Martin decision (with which it once again disagrees on the substantive question) and disagreeing with that majority’s opinion, found in its own denial of rehearing, that the two e-groups were distinguishable.

Oy – what a mess. One can hardly imagine a more suitable circumstance for en banc rehearing.

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