TEXARKANA COA REVERSES CONVICTION ON CHILD PORN CASE, BAD SEARCH WARRANT (Elardo v. State)
"Reliable Source" is reliable because the source is reliabe . . . get it?
Mr. Elardo was convicted of multiple counts of child porn possession and sentenced to 20 years TDC.
The daughter-in-law of Mr. Elardo's wife tipped off police to child porn in Mr. Elardo's home. The police went to their local Justice of the Peace (not licensed to practice law) who signed their search warrant. The search warrant stated that the informant was a "reliable source", but stated no other facts in support of this contention. Justice Ross wrote that such a statement was conclusory without any "basis of knowledge" contained in the search warrant indicating the trustworthiness of this informant. The State urged the court to apply a more relaxed standard on the reliability issue because the informant was a private citizen whose only contact with the police was to witness a crime. Justice Ross declined, noting that there is nothing in the search warrant affidavit that puts this informant into the good samaritan category of tipster.
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