Nevada County judge rules Jason Mackey-related search warrant is good; drug case back on | TheUnion.com

Nevada County judge rules Jason Mackey-related search warrant is good; drug case back on

The drug case against Michael Habig was over.

Nevada County Superior Court Judge Robert Tice-Raskin in August ruled that embattled Deputy Jason Mackey listed an incorrect address in a search warrant. Evidence gained from that warrant couldn't reach a jury.

Prosecutors refiled the case, making an argument they failed to make the first time — that Mackey made a clerical error, an honest mistake, and had no intention to deceive a judge, Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said.

The judge, who weeks ago scuttled an unrelated drug case over similar accusations against Mackey, agreed this month with prosecutors about Habig. The felony drug case against Habig is back on, and the 41-year-old is scheduled for court Tuesday in an attempt to fire his defense attorney.

"What happened last time, we didn't argue the good-faith exemption," Walsh said. "The judge was correct that the argument should have been made by the prosecution. If there were mistakes made, they weren't done in bad faith."

Greg Klein, Habig's defense attorney, couldn't be reached for comment.

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Tice-Raskin in his May 4 decision states that he examined Mackey's affidavit for inconsistencies that could affect probable cause — a legal standard needed for a search. He also considered if Habig's accusations of misrepresentations or omissions made by Mackey were supported by court documents.

"While the Detective clearly made an analytical error, his diligence was appropriate and there is no evidence to suggest that he acted in anything other than good faith," Tice-Raskin writes.

The decision in Habig's case came three days after Tice-Raskin dealt a blow to prosecutors about an unrelated search warrant written by Mackey. In that case, involving misdemeanor marijuana accusations against two men, the judge ruled that Mackey made false and misleading statements in a search warrant.

In that same decision the judge denied a defense motion claiming law enforcement committed outrageous governmental conduct.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.