Is a photo of two xbox games for sale online enough probable cause for a search warrant?

a home robbery had taken place where the thieves had taken a lot of items from the home. Among them two new unopened xbox’s games. My daughter just happen to be selling the same two unopened games. the police came with a warrant to search her home even though there were no bar codes or identifying marks to prove they where the stolen games.

Asked on September 13, 2017 under Criminal Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the police had a warrant, it convinced a judge that it was reasonably likely--that's what "probable cause" means--that those were the stolen games. As you can imagine, this is a subjective standard: one judge may see things one way, another, a different way, and so different judges may come to opposite conclusions about whether there is probable cause. But if she put the games up for sale shortly after the robbery, it's difficult to say that the judge who signed the warrant was wholly offbase; it is reasonable that they may be stolen, since the odds of *those* two games coming up simultaneously for sale independent of the robbery are small.


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