In December we were awakened by our door being smashed in and the police shoving guns in our faces demanding to know where the drugs were. A false complaint had been filed accusing my husband of being a drug dealer. The sheriff tossed our apartment and left us with a terrible mess. Nothing was found, no evidence of criminal activity. One sheriff demanded that my husband call him daily to check in. WHY? No arrest was made. I still jump and shake violently every time I hear a door slam and can't sleep from the nightmares this ordeal caused. Is this the end of it? Can we expect this to happen sometime in the future? We didn't do anything wrong but are being treated like criminals. What can we do to protect ourselves in the future should this raise it's head again.
Under the Fourth Amendment we have the right to be free from “unreasonable” searches & seizures. Apparently a judge has determined that there was “probable cause” to believe that drugs or other “contraband” would be found at your residence. That means the judge would have been presented some “facts” in the form of a sworn police report that someone supposedly saw criminal activity at your residence. An undercover officer, witnesses or confidential informant can be used to provide these “facts.” However, the police must take some steps to verify the information. For example someone cannot just call the police on the phone anonymously and say that drug dealing is going on at your house and the police automatically get a warrant based upon that statement alone.
And there is a lot more to getting a search warrant than just such a phone call. So I am concerned that the police may have been watching your residence and may have seen people connected with drug dealing enter your home. You need to have a conversation with your husband about that. The other possibility is that the police simply typed the wrong address number on the search warrant and may have searched the wrong house.
It is very unusual for the police to tell someone to call them daily. Has your husband had any other recent contact with the police? More seems to be going on here. Your husband does not have to call them.
Finally, you can submit a “claim” to the city or county for any damage done to your residence and personal property. You should consider speaking directly to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your rights.
Not you, but your attorney should write a letter to all your local law enforcement agencies and describe the devistation you have experienced.
Let them know that once they searched and found nothing, that further searches will be interpreted as harrassment. I also recommend this type of letter for new occupants of apartments and houses formerly occupied by felons; instances where a parolee was staying at a residence but is no longer staying there, etc.
Don't communicate directly and in person, but by attorney's letter. This will let law enforcement know that it needs a much much higher threshold of probable cause to repeat the procedure. (implied in this is a civil rights threat).
At the same time, do a complete micro sweep of the premises. What if the search was instigated by a much earlier resident who left something behind? What if you have drugs there and don't know about it? What if someone slipped in and planted something and wants to punish you with it, but the police simply were unable to find it?
Keep a clean, neat, orderly house and remove ANYTHING that is illegal.
Giving the police the benefit of the doubt, a magistrate issued a search warrant based on some, apparent credible information from some confidential informant. If as you say you and your husband are not involved in criminal activities, that may be the end of it. As for reporting everyday, without an arrest, heck even with. Arrest, your husband has no obligation to speak to anyone. Remember, you have the right to remain silent, SO SHUT UP! Sorry for being crude. You probably have no civil claim against police since they have qualified immunity, which means they usually get away with it! I suggest you just continue with your life until something DOES happen that leads to an arrest. I could go on but I will leave it at that. See what others may suggest. I provide a free consultation if you feel you would like to discuss the matter further. Tel. 714.547.7939. Good luck!!
There seems to be enough evidence that a warrant was issued. This means thatthere was more than someone falsely accusing you, they needed to provide some corroboration to this. At the very least, he is hanging out with some shady people. The one qualification I would put on this is that if he was on probation or parole, his rights are less than the average person and therefore they would need less evidence before doing this. I would not expect this to occur again unless they obtain additional evidence. They would not want to be wrong twice. Do not communicate with them. The Sherriff's statement to "check in" is not something that can really be ordered, unless he was on probation or parole.
Get free answers from experienced attorneys.
26,776 answers this week
2,815 attorneys answering
Get answers from top-rated lawyers.
26,776 answers this week
2,815 attorneys answering