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Oct 18, 2023

The investigator assigned to investigate juvenile crimes (including offenses committed by juveniles and crimes committed against children) has a heavy caseload. He averages 15 cases each week, and only one juvenile investigator is in your CID unit. He comes into your office and informs you that since he was so busy, he forgot to turn in the receipt from a search warrant that he completed on a child pornography case.

NOTE: The search warrant was issued on November 1, 2023, and the search warrant was executed on November 5, 2023. Several items, including a computer and 10 USBs, were taken as evidence in the case.

While the search warrant met the expectations of Alabama Code: 15-5-12 (see below), the receipt was not returned to the clerk`s office.

Section 15-5-12Warrant to be executed and returned within 10 days.

A search warrant must be executed and returned to the judge or the magistrate by whom it was issued within 10 days after its date; if not executed after such time, it is void.

(Code 1852, §837; Code 1867, §4388; Code 1876, §4017; Code 1886, §4738; Code 1896, §5495; Code 1907, §7768; Code 1923, §5482; Code 1940, T. 15, §111.)

According to the Code of Alabama, a search warrant receipt must be returned to the circuit clerk`s office.

Section 15-5-11Receipt for property taken.

When an officer takes property under a search warrant, he must give a receipt to the person from whom it was taken or in whose possession it was found if required.

(Code 1852, §836; Code 1867, §4387; Code 1876, §4016; Code 1886, §4737; Code 1896, §5494; Code 1907, §7767; Code 1923, §5481; Code 1940, T. 15, §110.)

The investigator asks if this is a problem and what should be done.

DISCUSSION PROMPT QUESTIONS:

Is the fact that the search warrant receipt was not returned to the clerk`s office a fatal error, meaning that the search warrant is most likely to be suppressed, or is this simply an administrative error?
What, if anything, should be done to the investigator? In other words, should the investigator be disciplined in any way? If not, why not? If so, outline your proposed disciplinary actions against the investigator.
What other actions, if any, should be the supervisor make sure are completed at this point in the case?

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