Gwinnett Superior Court denied Michael S. Shirley’s Motion to Suppress evidence, believing that the search warrant used to obtain child pornography gathered from his home was sufficient. Mr. Shirley appealed, but the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision.
The Supreme Court of Georgia determined that a search warrant taken out against Michael Shirley did not contain enough valid information to support probable cause in retrieving child pornography materials. The Court pointed out on the affidavit for the warrant that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) implied it had received information from German authorities without specifying which or what type of authorities they were. The affidavit also listed an FBI Task Force as a source but refrained from defining the task force’s role with the German authorities. Also, the affidavit did not specify whether the website listed by the German authorities was analyzed with regard to laws of Germany, the United States, or Georgia.
Michael Shirley’s Motion to Suppress succeeded because the affidavit supporting the search warrant was too vague. It did not contain enough specific information for the claims made by the FBI Task Force.