Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Middle District of Tennessee at Cookeville.
No. 2:17-cr-00007-1—Eli J. Richardson, District Judge.
Argued: August 4, 2020
Decided and Filed: August 27, 2020
Before: ROGERS, KETHLEDGE, and NALBANDIAN, Circuit Judges.
NALBANDIAN, Circuit Judge. Challenges to warrants based on typographical errors or
factual inaccuracies typically fall under this Circuit’s clerical error exception. We have
consistently found that inadvertent drafting mistakes, for instance transposing a number in a
street address or listing an incorrect nearby address, do not violate the Fourth Amendment’s
prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. That is because those errors create little risk
of a mistaken search or a general warrant granting police an unconstitutionally broad authority to
But Defendant Samer Abdalla contends that this case does not involve a regular clerical
error. The Tennessee judge who signed the warrant permitting officers to search Abdalla’s
residence on New Hope Road only had jurisdiction in DeKalb County. But the warrant, in one
place, listed an address on Carey Road in Trousdale County, Tennessee. This error resulted from
the drafting officer’s using a previous warrant as a template and failing to erase all vestiges of
that document. As a result, the warrant permitting officers to search Abdalla’s residence listed
the wrong address, including the wrong county, in the authorization paragraph despite accurately
describing Abdalla’s home.
Abdalla makes much of this mistake. He argues that a warrant cannot be valid if it
contains a mismatch between the residence in the authorization section and the residence that the
police searched. Along with this theory of invalid formation, Abdalla also asserts that a judge’s
failure to notice an address outside his jurisdiction in a warrant’s authorization section demands
the inference that the judge impermissibly rubberstamped the warrant. Yet the affidavit
supporting the warrant listed the correct address and county at the top of the first page. And the
warrant itself directed officers to the correct address by providing step-by-step directions along
with a detailed description of Abdalla’s residence. So the warrant’s singular incorrect address
posed almost no chance of a mistaken search. Despite the government’s irregular mistake, this
clerical error case demands the usual result for technical mistakes that threaten no constitutional
harm. We AFFIRM.