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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Justice Department Tips Off Senator Stevens Before Searching His Home

The FBI and IRS's execution yesterday afternoon of a search warrant on the Alaska home of GOP Senator Ted Steven has been widely reported by now.

What's striking is this tidbit in today's WaPo:

Stevens said in a statement that his attorneys were advised of the impending search yesterday morning.
I spent nearly 9 years as a federal prosecutor. I'm not aware of a single instance when any prosecutor or agent told anyone outside the Justice Department that a search warrant was going to be executed later in the day. Telling outsiders -- especially lawyers for the person whose property will be searched -- defeats one of the principal purposes of a search warrant: SURPRISE to ensure the integrity of the evidence field.

If you're going to tell the target of the search in advance, then why not just serve a subpoena and trust in compliance? More...