1

If you ask police to read warrants out before they enter your premises, are the forced to? Can police being asked to read out a warrant and not doing so be grounds for having a warrant deemed invalid?

1
  • You can ask whatever you want. But more likely they are simply going to hand you a copy of the warrant and continue on with their task. The police do not need your consent if they have a warrant.
    – jwh20
    Mar 6, 2023 at 15:57

2 Answers 2

3

No.

The only1 requirement is for the officer serving the warrant to show the occupier the original and provide a copy or, if there's no one in, to leave it in a prominent position as per section 15 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984:

...

(5)Where the occupier of premises which are to be entered and searched is present at the time when a constable seeks to execute a warrant to enter and search them, the constable—

  • (a)shall identify himself to the occupier and, if not in uniform, shall produce to him documentary evidence that he is a constable;

  • (b)shall produce the warrant to him; and

  • (c)shall supply him with a copy of it.

(6)Where—

  • (a)the occupier of such premises is not present at the time when a constable seeks to execute such a warrant; but

  • (b)some other person who appears to the constable to be in charge of the premises is present,subsection (5) above shall have effect as if any reference to the occupier were a reference to that other person.

(7)If there is no person who appears to the constable to be in charge of the premises, he shall leave a copy of the warrant in a prominent place on the premises.

Delaying entry in order to read out the entire warrant could result with evidence being lost or destroyed, or suspects absconding.


1 there's also going to be some other paperwork depending on the particular circumstances.

1
  • 1
    Although tagged USA, I have answered in line with: we expect and encourage answers dealing with other jurisdictions ... please tag your answer using the tag markdown: [tag: some-tag]". From the Help centre
    – user35069
    Mar 6, 2023 at 17:26
1

If the police have a valid warrant, they can search the premise. The primary procedural distinction on the execution of the warrant is that "knock and announce" can be a component of a reasonable search, see Wilson v. Arkansas, 514 U.S. 927, therefore unannounced entry can be unreasonable. A no-knock warrant is possible (deemed reasonable) if there is an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or probability that evidence will be destroyed.

Rule 41(f) (FRCRMP) states the federal rules for executing and returning a warrant. You will note that there is no rule about how you actually initiate or conduct the search, once you have the warrant. An occupant can consent to a search, which is irrelevant if there is a warrant: apart from giving consent as one means of making a search reasonable, the occupant is out of the picture. Instead, the defendant in any resulting prosecution could move to exclude evidence, if it is determined that it was illegally obtained. It is a courtesy but not a right to be shown the warrant (nb an actual verbal reading of the warrant would be a delay tactic, which the law does not endorse).

This federal warrant form includes a statement (to the executing officer) that

Unless delayed notice is authorized below, you must give a copy of the warrant and a receipt for the property taken to the person from whom, or from whose premises, the property was taken, or leave the copy and receipt at the place where the property was taken.

I have found no evidence that failure to supply a copy of the warrant to the person (when property is seized) results in exclusion of the evidence, and the language does not make it a precondition for entry that a copy be given to the owner. This description of the warrant-execution procedure says that "Then ideally they would show the occupants the copy of the search warrant if possible, they are not always going to have the warrant at the very beginning of the search but at lease by the time they are done they should have shown someone in the premises a copy of that warrant". Should have is different from "must".

A state might add a requirement that police must show a warrant to an occupant who demands to see the warrant, but Washington state is a state that is likely to have such a requirement, and there is no such requirement (there are 49 other states).

1
  • there are federal double-secret warrants in US that do not even inform the occupant.
    – Tiger Guy
    Mar 6, 2023 at 17:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .