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Warrants – “Oath or Affirmation” Requirement

State v. Wilton Tye, 2001 WI 124
For Tye: Mark D. Richards, Christy M. Hall

Issue: Whether evidence seized under a search warrant unsupported by oath or affirmation must be suppressed.

Holding: The requirement that a search warrant be supported by oath or affirmation is an explicit and long-standing feature of both state and federal constitutions, as well as legislation, and is essential to the warrant’s validity. Such a defect can’t be dismissed as a mere technicality, nor cured by a sworn statement after the warrant’s execution.

For an interesting variation on this theme, see U.S. v. Vargas-Amaya, 389 F.3d 901 (9th Cir. No. 03-50577, 11/22/04) (reference to “warrant,” in federal supervised-release legislation, must be given its common definition, which is to say a trigger for the fourth amendment Warrant Clause; and, that Clause requires that a warrant be supported by oath or affirmation):

In Groh v. Ramirez, 124 S. Ct. 1284 (2004), the Supreme Court recently affirmed that every warrant must meet the requirements of the Warrant Clause, and be based upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation. Id. at 1289-90; see also Albrecht v. United States, 273 U.S. 1, 4-6 (1927) (holding an arrest warrant invalid because it was issued based upon affidavits which had been sworn to before an official “not authorized to administer oaths in federal criminal proceedings”).

Other variations on this theme, but with respect to “particularity” requirement: Battle v. State, 620 SE 2d 506 (Ga. App. 2005) (“in light of Groh, we now hold that, where a search warrant fails to meet the particularity requirement on its face but instead incorporates a supporting document by reference, failure to leave a copy of that supporting document at the searched premises invalidates the warrant”); Doe v. Groody, 361 F. 3d 232 (3rd Cir No. 02-4532, 3/19/04) (“it is perfectly appropriate to construe a warrant in light of an accompanying affidavit or other document that is incorporated within the warrant. But to take advantage of this principle of interpretation, the warrant must expressly incorporate the affidavit.”).

 

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