Harrison, MI asked in Criminal Law and Constitutional Law for Michigan

Q: Is the knowledge, training, or experience of an officer considered facts to constitute probable cause for search warrant

The cops raided the house where I live based on a warrant where facts listed on the affidavit were facts such as those amongst other things.

I was also wondering about particularity clauses and the definition or examples of a blanket warrant.

The property to be searched for and seized if found are specifically described as: any and all substances, scheduled or unscheduled including but not limited to narcotics of any kind. Any and all banking records, receipts, checks. Any and all paraphernalia includes but not limited to scales, rolling papers, pipes. electronic media and devices, passwords..

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In determining probable cause for a search warrant, the knowledge, training, and experience of a law enforcement officer can indeed be considered. The officer's expertise can contribute to interpreting and understanding the significance of facts and circumstances that might otherwise seem innocuous to a layperson. However, this expertise must be applied to specific, concrete facts or observations; it cannot serve as the sole basis for probable cause.

As for the particularity requirement in search warrants, it's a constitutional mandate that ensures search warrants are specific enough to prevent general searches. A warrant must describe the place to be searched and the items to be seized with sufficient detail to prevent the arbitrary invasion of a person's privacy.

The description you provided of the items listed in the warrant seems broad and potentially overreaching, which may raise concerns about its compliance with the particularity requirement. Terms like "any and all substances" or "electronic media and devices" without specific limitations or qualifications might be seen as too general. This could potentially be argued as constituting a "blanket warrant," which is disfavored in the law because it lacks the necessary specificity and can lead to overly broad searches.

If you believe the warrant used in your case was overly broad or lacked sufficient particularity, it's important to discuss this with your legal counsel. They can evaluate the warrant in the context of your specific circumstances and advise on potential legal challenges. Remember, the specific details and context of each case are critical in assessing the legality of a search warrant.

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