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Dueling Interpretations of American Law on the Canadian Supreme Court

Yesterday, the Canadian Supreme Court issued a 4-3 ruling in R. v. Morelli, a controversial case concerning whether a search warrant for a personal computer had been issued pursuant to defective information.

The majority concluded that the authorities had obtained the search warrant on the basis of misleading, inaccurate, and incomplete information. The result was to overturn the earlier conviction of a man accused of possessing child pornography.

What is interesting for us, though, is that the majority and dissent engaged in a fascinating exchange about what precisely is required under American law to to support a reasonable inference that a particular individual is the "type of offender" who would seek out illegal pornography. (See paragraphs 85, 87, 162, and 173.)

So here we see, quite vividly, Justices of the Canadian Supreme Court proffering dueling interpretations of American case law in a larger effort to defend their respective judgments.

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