Search Warrants


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Search Warrants

  1. 1. High Tech Search Warrants Franklin Clark [email_address] CIS 411/412
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Applying Old Law to New Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Search Warrants/Subpoenas </li></ul><ul><li>Tips, Tricks and Little Known Tools </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Rule of Law in United States of America <ul><li>Persons are to be free from unreasonable search and seizure of their person and property </li></ul><ul><li>As a General Rule: A search warrant signed by a judge is required for the government to search a person, place or thing </li></ul><ul><li>There are specific exceptions </li></ul>
  4. 4. Exceptions to the Search Warrant Rule <ul><li>1. Permission (signed or verbal) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use with caution </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2. Exigent circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>3. Limited search pursuant to arrest </li></ul><ul><li>4. Plain View </li></ul><ul><li>5. There is no number 5 </li></ul>
  5. 5. Search Warrant Basics <ul><li>Search Warrant affidavits must be written in such a manner that they stand on their own. </li></ul><ul><li>If the court does not understand your warrant it may be thrown out in its entirety. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Search Warrant Basics <ul><li>If the warrant does not contain sufficient facts to establish probable cause to search a person, place or thing - the warrant may be thrown out in its entirety </li></ul>
  7. 7. Search Warrant Basics <ul><li>Federal law provides that a search warrant may stand even if some of the facts are not true if the officer writing the warrant is acting in good faith and believed the facts to be true. </li></ul><ul><li>States may be more restrictive </li></ul>
  8. 8. Search Warrant Basics <ul><li>Consists of 3 parts </li></ul><ul><li>1. The Search Warrant Proper </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A court order commanding an officer to conduct a search of a person, place or thing. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2. An Affadivit of probable cause, detailing the reason the search is warranted. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Return of Service form </li></ul>
  9. 9. In a Business Environment <ul><li>When Searches are conducted by citizens </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Within the scope of their duties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The fourth amendment does not apply. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Searches by citizens not acting under authority of law-enforcement <ul><li>Are not subject to the fourth amendment. </li></ul><ul><li>May be civil penalties attached </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul>
  11. 11. Searches by citizens acting under authority of law-enforcement <ul><li>Rule: If a private citizen is asked by or directed by law enforcement to conduct a search which would otherwise require law enforcement to obtain a search warrrant. . . . The citizen is subject to the same legal restraints as law enforcement. </li></ul><ul><li>THEY HAVE BECOME “AGENTS” of the police! </li></ul>
  12. 12. Searches by Private Security Personnel <ul><li>Guide: Conduct as much of the investigation as possible or practical prior to contacting law-enforcement. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Searches by Private Security Personnel <ul><li>Be aware of pitfalls and possible civil litigation potential </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mitigated by: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>written policies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>banners </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If the above are not present - Civil or Criminal action may not be possible </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Searches by Permission <ul><li>Verbal permission to conduct a search is legal but not recommended </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May be revoked anytime </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May be argued in court on many fronts . . Examples </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Permission to search should be obtained in writing and witnessed by a third party </li></ul>
  15. 15. Exigent circumstances <ul><li>Must be a genuine emergency not created by law-enforcement </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>By law-enforcement officer upon probable cause to believe that serious injury or death or loss of evidence could result by waiting for a warrant </li></ul>
  16. 16. Exigent circumstances <ul><li>Exigent circumstances will be reviewed by the court who will determine </li></ul><ul><li>The state of mind of the officer authorizing the search </li></ul><ul><li>Information known to the officer at the time of the search </li></ul><ul><li>If the emergency was created by law enforcement </li></ul>
  17. 17. Search Warrant Content <ul><li>Forms not standardized but content is determined by law </li></ul><ul><li>They always consist of two parts and detail with some particularity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. The person or place to be searched </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. A description of the things to be searched for </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Search Warrant Content <ul><li>Are sworn by the affiant (Officer) </li></ul><ul><li>Signed by a Judge </li></ul><ul><li>Have a limited time for service (usually 10 days) </li></ul><ul><li>Must be served by Law Enforcement </li></ul>
  19. 19. The Affidavit <ul><li>Affidavits in general contain specific probable cause and facts describing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. The person, place or thing to be searched </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. A description of the evidence to be searched for </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. The Affidavit <ul><ul><li>3. Description of the FELONY(s) believed to have been committed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4. Probable cause to believe that the evidence to be searched for is contained on or in the person, place or thing to be searched </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>?Probable cause? </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Search Warrant Return Form <ul><li>List of all evidence seized </li></ul><ul><li>Sworn and signed by an Officer </li></ul><ul><li>Filed with the Court . . Normally within 10 days of service of warrant </li></ul>
  22. 22. High Tech Warrants <ul><li>High-tech investigation the affidavit is often somewhat different from general affidavits of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>probable cause may be established by an expert </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>civilian experts may be needed during the service of the warrant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>civilian experts may be needed to examine the evidence </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. High Tech Warrants <ul><li>Unusual means of handling and obtaining information from evidence should be approved by the court </li></ul><ul><li>More than the normal 10 days to serve and make the warrant return to the court may be required </li></ul><ul><li>May request non disclosure of warrant for length of time specified and P/C outlined in warrant. Example </li></ul>
  24. 24. High Tech Warrants <ul><li>High-tech investigation affidavits may differ from general affidavits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Probable cause may be established by an expert (so called Expert Warrant) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I.E., preferential sex offenders keeping “trophys” for extended periods of time </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Requires specific facts and expertise. Case study </li></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 25. High Tech Warrants <ul><li>High-tech investigation affidavits may differ from general affidavits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Civilian experts may be needed during the service of the warrant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Civilian experts may be needed to examine the evidence </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. High Tech Warrants <ul><li>High-tech investigation affidavits may differ from general affidavits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Often use words that are not commonly known by the court </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical acronyms and words should be followed by the clear meaning in affidavit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider attaching a dictionary of technical terms to the affadavit </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Writing the Affidavit (of probable cause) <ul><li>Take your time in explaining a technical warrant to the court </li></ul><ul><li>The time spent in educating the judge will pay rich dividends in the long run </li></ul><ul><li>Never go to a judge that rubber stamps Warrants. WHY? </li></ul>
  28. 28. Writing the Affidavit (of probable cause) <ul><li>All affidavits describe probable cause to believe that a crime (felony) occurred </li></ul><ul><li>And that the person, place or thing to be searched contain evidence related to that or further felonies </li></ul><ul><li>Affidavits in support a search warrant may be written by either civilians or law-enforcement </li></ul>
  29. 29. Writing the Affidavit (of probable cause) <ul><li>A search warrant authorizes a law-enforcement officer to serve the warrant </li></ul><ul><li>If civilians experts are be taken to a crime scene to assist in the service of a search warrant, their expertise and specific purpose related to the investigation should be included in the warrant affidavit. </li></ul>
  30. 30. All Search Warrants <ul><li>Must list the person place or thing to be searched with some particularity. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>That is, you must describe the person place or thing to be searched and such a manner as that the average person armed with that information could locate the exact person place or thing to be searched and clearly identify it. </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. All Search Warrants <ul><li>Must list the person place or thing to be searched for with some particularity. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IE., a business, commonly known as a the County City building, located at 930 Tacoma Avenue South, on the west side of the street, between 9th an 11th streets, City of Tacoma, County of Pierce, State of Washington. </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Subpoenas <ul><li>Subpoenas are often a valuable tool in obtaining evidence in high-tech investigations </li></ul><ul><li>Subpoenas may be created by civil or criminal attorneys and in some states LE. </li></ul><ul><li>In high-tech investigations subpoenas may be used to obtain subscriber information from ISP's. They may limit notification of subscriber. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Subpoenas <ul><li>Usually obtained during the initial investigation and prior to criminal charges being filed. </li></ul><ul><li>Information available by subpoena are limited by the ECPA &EPA </li></ul>
  34. 34. ECPA &EPA <ul><li>Investigators in the high-tech field should be thoroughly aware of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and Privacy Protection Act. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>These acts give special protection to E-mail and published materials kept on a computer as well as protection of E-mail and transactional records kept by ISP. See handout </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Search warrant problems <ul><li>1. Too vague </li></ul><ul><li>2. Over broad </li></ul><ul><li>3. The warrant was not understood by the court </li></ul>
  36. 36. Search warrant problems <ul><li>4. The evidence seized was outside the scope of warrant </li></ul><ul><ul><li>That Is: the evidence seized was not enumerated in the warrant or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Probable cause was not enumerated the warrant to seize evidence listed in warrant </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Search Warrant Problems <ul><li>Or, the evidence seized was unlawful but was found in a place not listed or inappropriate for the warrant. </li></ul><ul><li>I.e. the warrant authorizes you to search for computers and you search in a jewelry box and find narcotics. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The narcotics evidence will be suppressed. </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Search Warrant Problems <ul><li>Remember: You can only search places that are appropriate for the items to be seized as enumerated in the warrant. </li></ul><ul><li>You cannot look in the kitchen cabinet for an automobile. </li></ul>
  39. 39. Little Used Investigative Tools <ul><li>Warrants may be telephonic </li></ul><ul><li>Should be used when evidence of a “new” crime is found in plain view </li></ul><ul><ul><li>warrants should be amended to include searching for further evidence of this “new” crime </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recorded, transcribed in real time </li></ul><ul><li>Signed by the court ASAP </li></ul>
  40. 40. Little Known Investigative Tools <ul><li>ISP’s are required by Federal Law to hold information in their databases on notice from LE that paper is being created. Paper = Search Warrant or Subpeona as appropriate for 30 days. </li></ul><ul><li>SW and Subpeonas may be faxed and evidence returned by FAX. </li></ul><ul><li>Follow up with a Certified copy </li></ul>
  41. 41. Little Known Investigative Tools <ul><li>Sneak Peak Warrants may be authorized under some specific circumstances in most states. IE., middle of the night entry to plant bugs, tap into networks, image computers etc. with delayed notice of service of warrant. </li></ul><ul><li>Use real caution here and have good legal advice. </li></ul>
  42. 42. Little Known Investigative Tools <ul><li>Special Inquiry Court </li></ul><ul><li>Similar to Grand Jury in other States </li></ul><ul><li>May be opened by any prosecutor </li></ul><ul><li>Entire Proceeding is SECRET including: </li></ul><ul><li>Reports, Testimony, Court orders and Search Warrants </li></ul>
  43. 43. Bottom-line: <ul><li>Check the Facts </li></ul><ul><li>Get the Paper </li></ul><ul><li>Carefully construct the affidavit in clear commonly understood words </li></ul><ul><li>Carefully explain the meaning of technical words or acronyms </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t make bad case law, if in doubt, get help </li></ul>
  44. 44. NeRdS Hate this part. Document Document Document Document Everything you do
  45. 45. The End Franklin Clark [email_address]