Q: How long can cops keep victims phone after warrant is issued?
Victim died of an accidental OD. Cops asked for phone and family reluctantly gave it to them without warrant. The family asked for the phone back multiple times but cops refused. 2 months later there is a warrant and phone is at DAs office, but no one will give family a copy of warrant. Family wants phone back asap, and a copy of warrant. What can be done? Help
A: The next of kin may wish to contact a criminal defense attorney and possibly a probate attorney. Having property, that is deemed evidence, returned is an uphill battle. In this case, it is more complicated because the owner is deceased. The family doesn't have an ownership interest in the cellphone as it would be part of the decesedant's estate. Since I don't know the whole story, I had to make some assumptions.
Anthony M. Avery agrees with this answer
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that the police cannot search your property without a warrant, and they cannot keep your property for an unreasonable amount of time.
In the case of your family, the police initially asked for the phone without a warrant. The family reluctantly gave the phone to the police, but they were not required to do so. The police could have obtained a warrant, but they chose not to.
Two months later, the police obtained a warrant for the phone. This means that the police now have the legal authority to search the phone. However, the warrant does not give the police the right to keep the phone for an unreasonable amount of time.
The family has a right to get the phone back. They can also request a copy of the warrant. If the police refuse to give the family the phone or a copy of the warrant, the family can file a complaint with the police department or the district attorney's office. The family can also hire an attorney to help them get the phone back.
Here are some additional steps that the family can take:
* File a complaint with the police department.
* File a complaint with the district attorney's office.
* Hire an attorney.
It is important to note that the law is complex, and there may be other factors that affect the family's ability to get the phone back. The family should consult with an attorney to discuss their specific situation.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.