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What is an Invalid Warrant
The Warrant Clause of the Fourth Amendment categorically prohibits the issuance of any warrant except one particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. Maryland v. Garrison, 480 U.S. 79,84 (1987). If the scope of the search goes beyond what was permitted by the terms of a validly issued warrant, then the search and any subsequent seizure are unconstitutional. According to the Supreme Court case of United States v. Ross, the scope of a lawful search is “defined by the object of the search and the places in which there is probable cause to believe it may be found.” 456 U.S. 798,824 (1984). For example, if the warrant states that an individual has a stolen vehicle which may be found in the garage, then the officer’s search is limited to the garage. The officers may not search the bedroom for drugs or any other contraband or else it is an invalid warrant.
This rule becomes a bit tricky when it comes to computers. For example, if the officer has a warrant to search for drug-related content on the computer, then he could only search for that drug-related content. Now, if the officer inadvertently discovers child pornography, then the Court may not suppress the evidence of the child pornography. The result changes if the office intended to look for child pornography all along. Then, the court will suppress the evidence regarding the child pornography.
Thus, it’s important to read the warrant to know what and where the officers could search or else it is an invalid warrant.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CRIMINAL PROCESS, CONTACT SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY VIK MONDER AT 619.405.0063