February 6, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:15-cv-03566 -
Matthew F. Kennelly, Judge.
Ripple, Sykes, and Barrett, Circuit Judges.
RIPPLE, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
convicted Tralvis Edmond of possession of heroin with the
intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §
841(a)(1), and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon,
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). The Government's
case was based largely on evidence that the police had
recovered while executing a search warrant at a Chicago
apartment. The warrant was supported by the tip of a
confidential informant who reported purchasing heroin from
Mr. Edmond at the apartment.
his conviction, Mr. Edmond filed a motion under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255, seeking collateral relief from federal custody.
He claimed that he had been deprived of the effective
assistance of counsel because his trial attorney had not
filed a motion to exclude the evidence obtained from the
search. The district court evaluated this claim under the
familiar two-part analysis of Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). The court held that Mr.
Edmond's trial attorney had performed below an objective
standard of reasonableness. It then concluded that, although
the search warrant was not supported by probable cause, the
good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule saved the
evidence from exclusion. Therefore, the court reasoned, Mr.
Edmond had not shown that he was prejudiced by his
attorney's deficient performance, and his claim of
ineffective assistance failed.
Edmond now challenges the district court's application of
the good-faith exception. We agree with the district court
that objectively reasonable police officers could have relied
in good faith on the search warrant. Because Mr. Edmond has
not shown the requisite prejudice under Strickland,
we affirm the denial of his § 2255 motion.
19, 2010, Chicago Police Officer John Frano filed a complaint
for a search warrant in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The
complaint recounted a tip that he had received the day before
from a confidential informant, who claimed to have purchased
heroin in a basement apartment at 736 North Ridgeway Avenue
in Chicago. According to the complaint, the informant had
identified Mr. Edmond as the seller and had described the
location of the drugs as hidden under a bed in a shoebox. The
shoebox contained twenty to thirty golf ball-sized bags, and
each bag was filled with ten to thirteen smaller bags of
suspected heroin. The complaint also described Officer
Frano's efforts to corroborate this tip: he drove the
informant past the building to confirm the location of the
drug sale and showed the informant a photograph of Mr.
Ed-mond to confirm the seller's identity. Notably,
although the complaint specified the date of the
informant's tip, it did not specify clearly the date of
the alleged drug sale.
complaint, Officer Frano attested to the reliability of the
informant, who had provided dependable information about
narcotics activities for the past five years. The complaint
further explained that, "[o]n over 6 different occasions
in the past two months[, Officer Frano] has acted upon the
information provided by this [informant, ] and on these
occasions [Officer Frano] has recovered illegal
narcotics." The complaint did not mention the
informant's criminal record, that he was facing felony
drug charges at the time, or that a state court recently had
revoked his bail and issued a warrant for his arrest. At the
time, the Chicago Police Department's standard practices
did not require the inclusion of informants' criminal
histories in warrant applications. Before presenting the
complaint to the issuing judge, Officer Frano obtained the
approval of the state's attorney's office. He did
not, at any time, bring the informant before the judge for
judge issued the warrant, and the Chicago Police Department
executed a search of the Ridgeway apartment on May 20, 2010.
Officers recovered two loaded handguns, three grams of
heroin, and eight grams of cocaine. Mr. Edmond was not
present during the search but was arrested later. On June 1,
2011, he was charged in a federal indictment with: (1)
possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1); (2) possession of heroin with
intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §
841(a)(1); and (3) possession of crack cocaine with intent to
distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).
case proceeded to trial. The Government presented testimony from
police officers involved in the search, including Officer
Frano. Mr. Edmond did not testify. The jury found him guilty
of the firearm and heroin charges but acquitted him of the
cocaine charge. Thereafter, the district court imposed a
sentence of 84 months' imprisonment. Mr. Edmond filed a
direct appeal, at which point his attorney (the same one who
represented him at trial) filed a motion to withdraw. We
dismissed the appeal under Anders v. California, 386
U.S. 738, 744 (1967). See United States v. Edmond,
560 Fed.Appx. 580 (7th Cir. 2014).
April 22, 2015, Mr. Edmond filed a pro se motion under 28
U.S.C. § 2255 to set aside his conviction and sentence.
He claimed that he had received ineffective assistance of
counsel at trial. In particular, he challenged his
attorney's decision not to file a motion to suppress the
evidence recovered in the search of the Ridgeway apartment.
He submitted that the warrant authorizing the search was not
supported by probable cause. As a result, he claimed, the
search was unlawful and the evidence was excludable as fruit
of the poisonous tree.
district court ordered an evidentiary hearing on Mr.
Edmond's claim and appointed counsel to represent him.
The hearing had two parts, which mirrored the familiar
two-part test for assessing claims of ineffective assistance
of counsel under Strickland. First, the court
considered whether Mr. Edmond's trial attorney had
performed in an objectively unreasonable manner. The court
concluded that his attorney's performance fell below the
requisite standard because, based on a misunderstanding of
the law,  the attorney had decided not to file a
suppression motion. See Gardner v. United States,
680 F.3d 1006, 1012 (7th Cir. 2012) (concluding that an
attorney's "misapprehension of law" is
court then held the second part of the hearing to consider
the other part of the Strickland inquiry: whether
Mr. Ed-mond had suffered prejudice as a result of his
attorney's deficient performance. The parties agreed that
the evidence seized from the search was critical to the
Government's case, so the court focused on "whether
Edmond ha[d] shown a reasonable likelihood that a motion to
suppress would have been successful had counsel filed
it." This inquiry required a showing that the
search warrant was not supported by probable cause and that
the good-faith exception did not apply to save the evidence
despite any constitutional infirmities with the warrant.
district court first determined that the warrant was not
supported by probable cause. It based its decision primarily
on the failure of the complaint to set forth clearly the date
on which the informant allegedly purchased drugs from Mr.
Edmond at the Ridgeway apartment. That omission, the court
explained, undermined the issuing judge's ability to
determine whether the complaint "reasonably suggests
that evidence of a crime might currently be found in
the location to be searched." Although other factors
weighed in favor of finding probable cause, such as the
firsthand nature of the informant's observations, the
court did not think that these countervailing considerations
overcame the "staleness" of the informant's
this conclusion about probable cause, the court found that
the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applied.
According to that exception, evidence obtained in violation
of the Fourth Amendment is nevertheless admissible if the
officers conducting the unlawful search relied in good faith
on a search warrant. United States v. Leon, 468 U.S.
897, 918-23 (1984). Because the receipt of a warrant
constitutes prima facie evidence of good faith, Mr. Edmond
had the burden to show that the exception should not apply.
See United States v. Pappas, 592 F.3d 799, 802 (7th
Cir. 2010). In an effort to shoulder that burden, he advanced
two arguments: first, that the complaint was so lacking in
indicia of probable cause as to render official reliance on
it entirely unreasonable; and second, that Officer Frano had
acted in reckless disregard of the truth by omitting from the
complaint damaging information about the informant's
criminal history and pending criminal charges.
court rejected both of these arguments. First, it held that
the complaint contained sufficient indicia of probable cause
to justify good-faith reliance on the warrant. The court
noted that the warrant contained detailed information about
the location and packaging of the drugs, Officer Frano's
corroboration of both the apartment's location and the
seller's identity, and evidence of the informant's
recent reliability. Second, the court concluded that Officer
Frano had not acted with reckless disregard for the truth. It
credited Officer Frano's testimony that he had omitted
the informant's criminal history based on the then-common
practice of the police department and that he was unaware of
the informant's recent bail revocation and arrest
warrant. The court also considered the informant's proven
reliability and that Officer Frano had obtained the approval
of the state's attorney before applying for the warrant.
Taken together, this evidence persuaded the court that
Officer Frano "did not intend to mislead the judge
regarding the informant's
credibility." Having rejected both of Mr. Edmond's
arguments, the court denied his § 2255 motion.
Edmond now challenges the district court's determination
that the good-faith exception applies to defeat his showing
of prejudice. He maintains that the trial judge would have
granted a motion to suppress and that, therefore, he was
deprived the effective assistance of counsel under
review de novo the district court's legal conclusions,
including its determination that the good-faith exception
applies. United States v. Koerth, 312 F.3d 862, 865
(7th Cir. 2002). We review the court's underlying ...