Hobbs Motion Law and Legal Definition

Hobbs Motion refers to a motion that is filed to force the prosecution to disclose the identity of a material confidential informant. It essentially challenges the validity of a sealed search warrant. Usually the police agency conducting the search warrant wants to keep all or any part of search warrant affidavit from being revealed so as to protect an informant's identity.

The legislature and courts have sanctioned the procedure of sealing portions of a search warrant affidavit that relate to facts or information which, if disclosed in the public portion of the affidavit, will reveal or tend to reveal a confidential informant's identity. The policy reasons underlying the need to protect the identities of confidential informants have long been recognized. These materials are sealed by the magistrate at the time the search warrant is signed and issued. However this is made available for in camera review by the trial court in connection with any motion brought to challenge the warrant's validity or discover whether the informant is a material witness to defendant's guilt or innocence. Whether disclosure of an informant's identity or the contents of his communication are "relevant and helpful to the defense of an accused" or "essential to a fair determination of a cause" will depend in large part on whether the informant is a potential material witness on the issue of guilt.[ People v. Hobbs, 7 Cal. 4th 948, 963 (Cal. 1994).