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  1. #1
    shadowangel is offline Rookie
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    Question Need help again with my book

    Hello everyone. You were kind enough to answer some questions for me in April regarding a book I'm writing (slowly) about a female police detective. I have reached a point where I could use some advice again. It is regarding search warrants. I read the thread on search warrants from early 2006, but the probable cause thing is tricky for me.

    The scenario is that a woman has been murdered. 20 years ago she was married to someone in another state who was a criminal. She testified against him and he was sent to prison. He threatened to kill her when he got out. Now he's out and turns up in the new state and town where the ex-wife lived, and she's dead. The woman was last seen with someone fitting his description, although it is not a positive ID. My detective and her partner have found him and his house. The dead woman was held in an unknown location for a couple days before she was killed. Would my detectives be more likely to question this guy or would they get, or even be able to get a search warrant and search his house, looking for evidence of the victim's presence?

    Thank you for any assistance you can give. I've written and erased a scene in which they question him several times.

  2. #2
    conalabu is offline Grasshopper
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    Probable cause is an easy idea with a lot of complications. PC is only that a reasonable person would believe that there is something in or on the premise that can be linked to a criminal act. In this case, you would need some physical link between either the premise or the person known to inhabit the premise that could reasonably be inside the premise. That being said, you have left a lot of open territory. In order to get a search warrant you have to create a specific list of places to be searched and items that you are looking for as well as why you think those items will be there. If you desire more information, gimme a PM. Hope this gets you started in the right direction.
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  3. #3
    Jks9199 is online now The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    The key elements to understand about a search warrant are all contained in the Fourth Amendment; you need probable cause to believe that specific evidence will be found in a fairly specific place. (I say fairly because you don't have to get down to "the left side of the top dresser drawer in the upstairs bedroom at the left front side of the house"; simply in the house is generally enough.

    You'll need to give your fictional detective facts that not only show that there is STILL likely to be evidence in the guy's house pertaining to this; that's often one of the biggest hurdles in older cases. Probable cause is generally perishable...

  4. #4
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    BEK is offline Lieutenant
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  5. #5
    Jks9199 is online now The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowangel View Post
    Hello everyone. You were kind enough to answer some questions for me in April regarding a book I'm writing (slowly) about a female police detective. I have reached a point where I could use some advice again. It is regarding search warrants. I read the thread on search warrants from early 2006, but the probable cause thing is tricky for me.

    The scenario is that a woman has been murdered. 20 years ago she was married to someone in another state who was a criminal. She testified against him and he was sent to prison. He threatened to kill her when he got out. Now he's out and turns up in the new state and town where the ex-wife lived, and she's dead. The woman was last seen with someone fitting his description, although it is not a positive ID. My detective and her partner have found him and his house. The dead woman was held in an unknown location for a couple days before she was killed. Would my detectives be more likely to question this guy or would they get, or even be able to get a search warrant and search his house, looking for evidence of the victim's presence?

    Thank you for any assistance you can give. I've written and erased a scene in which they question him several times.
    I just reread this...

    We're all answering "search warrant how to" questions...

    What you've written doesn't sound like it's at the search warrant stage. You're detective might talk to the guy, or he might continue to investigate the guy, trying to determine if he can find enough evidence to either get a warrant -- or remove the guy from suspicion.

  6. #6
    shadowangel is offline Rookie
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    Thanks. They'll qustion the exhusband politely. And yes, as jks9199 said, the fact that any evidence of the victim having been in his house disappearing was one of my concerns. And questioning him will alert him that his presence has been found out and that he is a suspect. If he were to be guilty, he has a chance to do a thorough clean up job or even disappear.

    Gosh. Real investigations must really be tricky. So much to think about.

  7. #7
    Jks9199 is online now The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Ah... but, you see, sometimes -- we want 'em to know we're watching. Makes 'em do stupid things.

    Spend some time reading up on exceptions to the warrant requirement; you might see what I'm hinting towards.

  8. #8
    shadowangel is offline Rookie
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    Thanks. I'll look at that area again.

 

 

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