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“An anonymous tip alone seldom demonstrates the informant’s basis of knowledge or veracit”

Nov 13, 2009 “An anonymous tip alone seldom demonstrates the informant’s basis of knowledge or veracit”

Image from the Government Printing Office’s website.

On November 12, 2009, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued its most recent ruling on the Second Amendment, as well as on the Fourth Amendment. Plummer v. U.S.. ___ A.2d ___ (Nov. 12, 2009).

Plummer refused Fourth Amendment relief where the defendant did not submit to police with their guns drawn.

Plummer addresses anonymous tips, which rear their ugly heads in my cases from time to time:

Furthermore, “‘an anonymous tip alone seldom demonstrates the informant’s basis of knowledge or veracity, . . .’ [but] there are situations in which an anonymous tip, suitably corroborated, exhibits ‘sufficient indicia of reliability to provide reasonable suspicion to make the investigatory stop.’” J.L., supra, 529 U.S. at 270 (quoting Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325, 329, 327 (1990)). A tip may provide “predictive information” that is sufficiently reliable “to identify a determinate person,” but the tip must also be “reliable in its assertion of illegality.” Id. at 271-72 (referencing 4 W. LaFave, Search and Seizure § 9.4 (h) (3d ed. 1996)).

Plummer.

Beyond the Fourth Amendment, Plummer remanded the case to the trial court "with instructions to hold a hearing to determine whether Mr. Plummer would have satisfied the statutory requirements in D.C. Code § 7-2502.03," which statute provides eligibility criteria for being permitted to possess a handgun and ammunition in the District of Columbia. Plummer.

Jon Katz.

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