What do the police need to put in a house search warrant?
Why is a search warrant so important? What do the police need to put in a search warrant to get into my house? How can the police search my house? What do the police need to tell a judge to get a search warrant? My house was searched and i don’t have the search warrant?
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
The key to this decision is the police officers’ obligation to provide a full and complete description of the house they want to search in their affidavit in support of the search warrant they are requesting the court issue for a home.
In this case the police did not identify the specific house/apartment by apartment number, color of the door, numbers on the side of the house, the description of the apartment being between two different units in the application for a search warrant being reviewed by the court when the police were asking the court to issue a search warrant. here the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that there was not enough information for the trial court judge who issued the search warrant to rely upon when the search warrant was issued. Specifically in this case, the building identified in the search warrant request was a large apartment building with many units in it and the police did not describe the specific apartment unit number where the defendant was actually living . Although the police in another section of the affidavit identified that the apartment number where this defendant lived, the descriptive nature of the specific apartment was not provided to the trial judge in the affidavit request. This New Jersey Supreme Court found that that was not adequate enough for the trial judge to issue the search warrant of one specific apartment especially in a multiunit apartment building.
The court addressed several different issues including, A) good faith exception of the police, and b) independent verification of the defendant’s actual residence via bills, mail check, and landlord verification. The court stated the police’s failure to perform these independent address verifications which would have been used to support and reinforce the officer’s direct observations of where the defendant was coming and going from in this large apartment building with many units were fatal mistakes that caused the search warrant request to be invalid!
How do I get the appellate court to reverse the trial court’s decision? Here is the threshold legal analysis you must satisfy!
An appellate court reviewing a motion to suppress evidence in a criminal case must uphold the factual findings underlying the trial court’s
decision, provided that those findings are “supported by sufficient credible evidence in the record.” State v. Scriven, 226 N.J. 20, 40 (2016). The suppression motion judge’s findings should be overturned “only if they are so clearly mistaken ‘that the interests of justice demand intervention and correction.’” State v. Elders, 192 N.J. 224, 244 (2007) (quoting State v. Johnson, 42 N.J. 146, 162 (1964)). However, we owe no deference to conclusions of law made by lower courts in suppression decisions, which we instead review de novo. State v. Watts, 223 N.J. 503, 516 (2015).