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Old February 6, 2012, 01:51 AM   #51
Aguila Blanca
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I especially like the first part of zxcvbob's proposal. The second part is perhaps more problematic.

The other good start would be for judges to grow spines and simply stop authorizing no-knock and dynamic entry warrants.
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Old February 6, 2012, 08:22 AM   #52
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How about if they are at the wrong address (doesn't match what's written on the warrant) the officers involved lose all qualified immunity?
Yeah, that like doesn't work. That means every time a cop makes a mistake he loses his qualified immunity. Unless you know someone who does not make mistakes and then we could make him the police.

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Old February 6, 2012, 09:26 AM   #53
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While I understand that mistakes happen, breaking down the wrong door is tantamount to breaking gun safety rules.

There seems to be two types of mistakes. First are the ones where the warrant is correct in terms of the address, but the officers go to the wrong address. The second is where the officers go to the address on the warrant, but the warrant address is in error. Either way, it would seem that nobody involved with serving the warrant is actually familiar with the intended target location. As such, when officers end up at the wrong address, none of the officers doing the entry have a clue as to whether it is the correct location or not.

I don't deny that some warrants may be extremely time sensitive and so officers don't have a chance to verify everything before service and just go by what the warrant says. However, that would not appear to be the case with this event where the FBI was serving multiple drug warrants in the same night.
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Old February 6, 2012, 11:56 AM   #54
Aguila Blanca
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Originally Posted by MTT TL
Yeah, that like doesn't work. That means every time a cop makes a mistake he loses his qualified immunity. Unless you know someone who does not make mistakes and then we could make him the police.
Mistakes such as raiding an incorrect address OR putting an incorrect address in a warrant application (or getting one that's typed wrong and not verifying that it was issued for the address requested) are not spur-of-the-moment decisions. They are processes involving days, weeks, even months of investigation and several steps along the way, each of which steps is in place for the express purpose of ensuring that warrants are NOT "served" on the wrong person at the wrong address. It's a very different situation from an "exigent circumstances" decision made on the street in the midst of a rapidly unfolding event.

I have been a material witness in a couple of Federal cases and I know first hand how carefully the warrant application was prepared and how precisely the location to be searched was described. Any time a warrant gets served at an incorrect address, there are several people in the chain who screwed up, and they SHOULD lose qualified immunity because it can only mean that they didn't do their jobs.

Take, for example, cases (and there are such in real life) where the police raid a house only to discover that the guy they're looking for has not lived there for six months or more, and the current occupants BOUGHT the house two months ago. Hello? The police are so hot on the guy's trail that they don't even bother to keep track of where he LIVES? That's just like Operation Fast & Furious, in which the BATFE didn't bother to keep track of all the guns they were allegedly "tracking."

How about the ones where the raiding party goes to the right street number on the wrong street? (Yeah, these have happened, too.) Seriously -- to get the warrant they have supposedly had the place under observation long enough to be able to swear on an affidavit that they have probable cause to believe there criminal activity. After all this observation, they can't even find the right street when it comes time to make the raid?

Gimme a break.
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Old February 6, 2012, 01:39 PM   #55
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How about the ones where the raiding party goes to the right street number on the wrong street? (Yeah, these have happened, too.) Seriously -- to get the warrant they have supposedly had the place under observation long enough to be able to swear on an affidavit that they have probable cause to believe there criminal activity. After all this observation, they can't even find the right street when it comes time to make the raid?
This happens when the people observing the property where the warrant is to be served are not people involved in the actual warrant entry. Of course, not all properties have been under observation before a warrant is issued. They don't ride in with the entry team and they don't direct the entry team during entry activities.
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Old February 6, 2012, 01:48 PM   #56
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They don't ride in with the entry team and they don't direct the entry team during entry activities.
Perhaps that's the problem.
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Old February 6, 2012, 02:01 PM   #57
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To all those against punishing those responsible for getting a wrong address; what are you really saying?

Is it that if police were punished for getting the wrong address for no-knock, dynamic entry warrants, that they might be hesitant to use that tactic?... and if so why would that be a bad thing?

You know people in accounting and banking for example, have their figures checked by others for accuracy. I don't see how it would be hard, or a big inconvenience to have addresses checked and double checked. Especially when there is a potential for innocent lives to be at stake. I also don't see why having a penalty associated with failure to be accurate is out of line either.
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Old February 6, 2012, 06:19 PM   #58
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You know people in accounting and banking for example, have their figures checked by others for accuracy. I don't see how it would be hard, or a big inconvenience to have addresses checked and double checked. Especially when there is a potential for innocent lives to be at stake. I also don't see why having a penalty associated with failure to be accurate is out of line either.
As an accountant and former tax auditor (i needed the money), i'm not sure that an "audit requirement" wouldn't be redundant, since there is a requirement for judicial oversight/approval. I mean, shouldn't the judge be checking those addresses? Maybe it would be helpful to provide the various judges with a link to a "google earth"-type website/application to let them check the address on the paperwork against what shows on the map and satellite imagery to see if the physical descriptions seem to line up. Of course, any requirements like this would be subject to the same failures as the current process. Now, a regular audit/review (quarterly) of whether the current procedures were being properly followed should be useful in ridding the system of anyone not willing to follow the proper procedures, every time, to prevent a wrong address on a no-knock type warrant (or any other warrant for that matter).

Personally, I am greatly comforted by the mutual protection offered by a steel-framed exterior steel door and do hope they remain legal. At a previous house, i was similarly comforted by a steel-framed security door. When the Shelby County Sheriff's deputies came by to serve a warrant about 1:30 in the AM some years ago, those deputies were fairly polite and were not overly upset when i explained (through the plexiglass & bar door) that it was a rental house and that i was a fairly new resident, especially after i came back "no warrants" on my DL. One of the downsides to renting a place in "the hood" is that bad people may still have it on their DL as their place.

Last edited by orangello; February 6, 2012 at 06:24 PM.
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Old February 7, 2012, 11:26 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by orangello
...Maybe it would be helpful to provide the various judges with a link to a "google earth"-type website/application to let them check the address on the paperwork against what shows on the map and satellite imagery to see if the physical descriptions seem to line up....
Good suggestion.

Our assessment office have a picture of most, if not all, residences within the county, a footprint/sketch with square footage, number of bathrooms, bedrooms, utilities to the house, etc. All that information is available to those willing to use it.

A SWAT team should have at least a picture of the residence in addition to an associate familiar with the residence/neighborhood during the break-in.
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