Importance of Case Law in Search and Seizure

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Importance of Case Law in Search and Seizure


Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for Law Enforcement.

When in doubt, get a search warrant.  That is always the safest route. 

Gordon Graham here with today’s tip from Lexipol and today’s tip deals with search and seizure. 

Many of you may know what it feels like to work hard on a case—only later to have it thrown out due to a technicality. Whether you’re searching for contraband, weapons, or electronic information, knowing what’s legal in your jurisdiction adds up to good police work. 

It’s important to understand that courts often interpret search and seizure laws differently from state to state, and these decisions are constantly evolvingA court ruling made in one particular state may experience a ripple-effect across other jurisdictions and the entire country. So, though a court ruling across the country may not determine what constitutes a lawful search in your state today, it may have a profound effect on how you do your job tomorrow. 

Iyou ever find yourself wondering whether or not the search you are about to conduct requires a warrant, you may wish to stop for a moment and consider consulting with your agency’s legal counsel. Because, no matter how long we’ve been on the job when it comes to laws pertaining to search and seizure, few people can assume to know everything that applies. Lastly, make a note, that searches and seizures are not just reactive measures, but rather planned courses of action based on current legal knowledge, probable cause, and sound judgment. And the last word on this topic…when in doubt, get a search warrant.  That is always the safest route. 

And that is today’s tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off. 

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