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Search Warrants – Scope – Particularity Requirement

State v. Michael A. Sveum, 2009 WI App 81, affirmed on other grounds2010 WI 92
For Sveum: Robert J. Kaiser, Jr.


¶40      Sveum’s particularity argument is that the many items authorized for seizure were so “non-specific” that the warrant was an invalid general warrant. Police were authorized to seize phone bills, journals, calendars, logs, computers and devices related to computers, cameras and film, binoculars, flashlights, ski masks, audio and/or video recording equipment in any format, and evidence that might identify the residents of the searched dwelling. Sveum also argues that the warrant lacked probable cause to seize some of the types of items identified in the warrant because he and his mother occupied the residence and the warrant lacked objective standards by which the executing officers could differentiate items his mother owned. We reject Sveum’s arguments. We perceive no reason, at least in this case, why guidelines would have been helpful or necessary. Tellingly, Sveum does not suggest what sorts of ownership guidelines would have been required to satisfy his view of the particularity requirement. We conclude that the warrant described the items to be seized with as much particularity and specificity as the circumstances and the nature of Sveum’s alleged stalking activity permitted.

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