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Search Warrants - Bare Bones Affidavits

NCJ Number
Crime to Court Dated: (January 1992) Pages: 1-6
J C Coleman
Date Published
23 pages
This police officer's handbook is based on the premise that a bare bones affidavit is not sufficient to establish probable cause; the affidavit must supply the magistrate with sufficient information to determine that probable cause exists.
In one case, a defendant in Mississippi questioned the validity of a search warrant, based on his claim that the affidavit did not supply the magistrate with sufficient information. Postal inspectors discovered a scheme in which inmates at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman used unsuspecting civilians to pass altered money orders. A search warrant issued for the employee found not only 30 money orders but also two packets containing almost 6 grams of heroin. The employee was subsequently indicted, although he argued that the affidavit failed to establish probable cause. The district court ruled that the employee violated the trust placed in him as a correctional officer, although the employee contended his position did not substantially contribute to his offense. The handbook provides legal commentary on search warrants, probable cause, and written affidavits.