Residents who habitually follow
CBS News Chicago may have noticed a recent piece that focused on police misconduct records
and the ongoing battle over their disposal. It appeared at the end of
November 2015 and mentioned incidents of alleged, illegal searches of
residents’ homes. Given that discussion, it is crucial residents
take the time to understand as much as possible about search warrants,
including their execution.
Here are some highlights:
When it comes to people’s homes and related curtilage, there are
generally only a handful of instances when law enforcement officers may
legally bypass the search warrant process. These include situations that
may be deemed emergencies as well as those where consent, expressed or
implied, is given by someone in the home. Such actions are usually referred
to as warrantless searches.
Their legality may be contested after the fact by criminal defense attorneys
familiar with both state and federal laws. However, it is far better to
refuse law enforcement access to the property at the outset as well as
avoid being caught up in potentially incriminating situations. For example,
it isn’t prudent for residents to leave house sitters at home without
informing them not to let law enforcement officers enter the property
without a warrant.
Furthermore, residents should be aware that search warrants are typically
not all-encompassing. As a matter of law, they are meant to be specific.
So if evidence isn’t in plain view, or in areas designated by the
search warrant, it may prove to be inadmissible in court. The facts of
each case will obviously play a role in this. Examples of just how vital
the facts are to a person’s defense may be found in previous cases such as
Illinois v. Rodriguez (1990),
Illinois v. McArthur (2001) and
Illinois v. Burns (2015).
To learn more about the current state of search warrant laws and how to
protect oneself against illegal acts, please
contact the Law Office of Steven Fine.