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Incomplete Search Warrant Form -- When Can the Warrant Be Valid?

NCJ Number
Crime to Court: Police Officer's Handbook Dated: (February 1993) Pages: complete issue
J C Coleman
Date Published
19 pages
Despite the legal requirement that a search warrant be valid to support a police search of persons, places, or things, the Supreme Court has held that an imperfect search warrant does not necessarily render evidence inadmissible.
In the case examined here, deputies in a rural Iowa county executed a search warrant regarding marijuana cultivation; however, the magistrate neglected to fill in the blank indicating whether the search was for a person, premises, or specific item. The defendant argued that the incomplete warrant made the search unlawful. After reviewing legal issues including a lack of address in the warrant, good faith exception to invalidate search warrant, illegally obtained statements used for indictment, involuntary statements used for evidence, and organization of criminal activity, the author concludes that the defendant's conviction should stand, but that he should be remanded for resentencing without the two-level enhancement charges.


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