This article presents numerous reasons why it would not be unreasonable for the police to refuse to provide an occupant of the premises a copy of the search warrant at the outset of the search when an occupant of the premises is present and poses no threat to the officers’ safe and effective performance of their mission. First, neither the plain text of the Fourth Amendment nor the plain text of Federal Rule 41 requires it. Second, there are numerous constitutional and statutory protections that ensure the executing official does not wrongfully execute the warrant.
In essence, requiring the police to provide a copy of the search warrant prior to conducting the search would contradict many of the Fourth Amendment’s purposes. As the Supreme Court recognized, the Fourth Amendment does not give individuals “license to engage the police in a debate over the basis for the warrant.” Our nation has a judicial system and judicial actors – such as judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys – that address the actions of an overreaching government. Allowing ordinary citizens to substitute themselves for these judicial actors is not only irresponsible but completely contradictory to the ideals and requirements of our Constitution.
Jones, M. Jackson M.S.
"Why it is not Unreasonable for the Police to Refuse to Provide a Copy of the Search Warrant at the Outset of the Search,"
ConLawNOW: Vol. 3:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/conlawnow/vol3/iss1/5