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Obtaining and Executing Search Warrants

Scenario
You are a special agent with the computer crime center of South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). You recently received a referral from the Aiken County Sheriff's Office regarding a suspect, Bobby Brown, who traveled from Columbia, South Carolina to Aiken, South Carolina to meet a minor female to engage in sexual activity. Brown contacted the minor in an online chat room and then engaged her in sexual discussions after learning that she was thirteen. After the minor told her parents, they contacted the Sheriff's office and took over the child's chat account. Aiken County Sheriff's deputies arrested Brown once he travelled to meet the minor and arrived at their predetermined location.

During the post-arrest interview, Brown revealed that officers may find contraband when searching his home—child pornography on DVDs and other media. Additionally, he revealed that he travelled to meet at least one other girl in the state and she was also a minor. Upon learning that the potential victim was located outside of their jurisdiction, the deputies contacted you to assist with the case moving forward. According to agency protocol, you travelled to Aiken to interview the suspect. Brown waived his right to have an attorney present and agreed to the interview. During the interview, you learn more information about the potential victims and contraband at Brown's home.

You must now obtain and execute search warrants for Brown's home and property.

Complete the following tasks in a 3- to 4-page Microsoft Word document:
- Present a factual basis for the search or searches in the Affidavit section, using the given facts in your area that would be sufficient for a magistrate to find probable cause to issue a search warrant.
- Discuss the essentials of search warrants and how they can impact the investigative and prosecutorial processes. Include a discussion on the elements of the search warrant, such as:
- Specificity required in affidavits—the impact of being too broad and too specific
- Timelines—when they are issued, executed, and when returns are filed, as well as staleness
- Requirements of who may issue warrants within each element
Within each element, highlight major cases from the Supreme Court of the United States, their holding, and their impact on the evolution of search warrants as we know them now.
- Discuss the effect of misrepresentation by officers before and during the search process and the impact this can have moving forward.

Solution Preview

http://www.utcourts.gov/courts/just/onlinelearning/Warrants/two-part-test.htm
Complete the following tasks in a 3- to 4-page Microsoft Word document:
Present a factual basis for the search or searches in the Affidavit section, using the given facts in your area that would be sufficient for a magistrate to find probable cause to issue a search warrant.

The impetus for issuing a search warrant in this case is very solid with factual information as well as reliable data to give the magistrate. To begin with, the internet chat room discussions that Brown had with the minor child can be used as evidence to provide to the magistrate as he contacted the minor in an online chat room and then engaged her in sexual discussions despite learning that she was thirteen. This is enough to warrant a search warrant coupled with the fact that the Sheriff's office and took over the child's chat account and gained further incriminating evidence from Brown. In addition Brown also traveled to engage in illegal sex acts with whom he thought was underage. He arrived at the location that was given by the Aiken County Sheriff's deputies and was summarily arrested.

After being arrested, Brown discussed the possibility of officers obtaining more incriminating evidence alluding to child pornography on DVDs and other media. This is another fact that can be used to ensure that the search warrant is given as it bolsters the probable cause that the magistrate would need to issue the search warrant. The fact that Brown also has revealed that additional victims may exist because of the revelation that he traveled across the state to meet another minor in person only gives more credence to the search warrant. Because the other victim is outside of the police agencies jurisdiction in the particular case, the agency has deferred this investigation to the appropriate authorities and the suspect is being interviewed by the proper authorities. Coupled with all the other incriminating evidence that has been provided in the case, the suspect's own admissions will seal the search warrant as the two most important ...

Solution Summary

The strategies of obtaining and executing search warrants are provided.

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