Darryl A. Goldberg
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Can a"proper" warrant still lead to an illegal search?

As with many videos that go viral showing police officers disregarding citizens’ civil rights, the video involving a Salt Lake City police detective and an emergency room nurse is quite disturbing. The officer demands that the nurse draw blood from an unconscious suspect under the auspice of implied consent, but the nurse, acting consistent with state law, refuses.

After a standoff where the nurse’s supervisor directly informs the officer of the hospital’s policy and the law, the officer snaps and begins to arrest the nurse. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and she was not charged with a crime.  

However, the encounter was a novel example of law enforcement attempting to circumvent the Fourth Amendment and conduct searches without probable cause or a proper warrant. This may occur on the street (i.e. a search of one’s person), or in one’s office or home (i.e. searches of electronic media).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently ruled on how warrants for electronic documents must state with particularity the information to be sought and the time frame in which the information would be included in the media to be searched. Sometimes a warrant may not meet these requirements and may later be deemed to be overly broad, even though a judge initially approved the warrant. If such a warrant is later ruled to offend the Fourth Amendment, all evidence obtained from it is inadmissible in court.

If you believe that an improper search led to criminal charges against you, an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you.

The preceding is not legal advice. 

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Darryl A. Goldberg
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