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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 169943 Find in a Library
Title: Unwarranted Warrant: The Waco Search Warrant and the Decline of the Fourth Amendment
Journal: Hamline Journal of Public Law and Police  Volume:18  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1996)  Pages:1-51
Author(s): D B Kopel; P H Blackman
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 51
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of how the government procured the search and arrest warrants that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) used in its February 28, 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Tex. concludes that both the warrant application and search and seizure law in the 1990s have numerous flaws.
Abstract: The background of the BATF investigation of the Branch Davidian residence indicates that no good reason existed for the Federal BATF to have jurisdiction over the tax offenses it was allegedly investigating. In addition, the warrant application was riddled with errors of law and fact that suggest the need for reforms to reduce false or misleading statements in future warrant applications. The lawful exercise of First Amendment rights may have been a central element in the BATF's determination that probable cause existed for the Waco raid. The experience of the Waco warrant and search and seizure law in the 1990's suggests the need for two kinds of reforms. First, the standard involving the totality of the circumstances should be replaced with the two-part Aguilar test to offer magistrates better guidance in issuing search warrants. Second, the exclusionary rule should be reinvigorated. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATFE or ATF); Exclusionary rule; Search and seizure laws; Texas
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