Can a judge from one judicial district in TN, say District 1, issue a search warrant to search a home in different judicial district, say District 2?
Criminal Defense Attorney
The Tennessee Supreme Court does not appear to have answered this specific question. It appears possible that a criminal court judge, issuing a search warrant for property located in another judicial district, could be overstepping his jurisdiction as Rule 41 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:
A magistrate with jurisdiction in the county where the property sought is located may issue a search warrant authorized by this rule.
However, T.C.A. 17-1-203, entitled, "Powers in Other Districts" reads:
The judges and chancellors are, notwithstanding § 17-1-102, judges and chancellors for the state at large, and as such, may, upon interchange and upon other lawful ground, exercise the duties of office in any other judicial district in the state.
State v. Blye, a 2004 Tennessee Supreme Court case provides some guidance. In Blye, a criminal case was pending against a man who was in prison in Johnson County(1st judicial district). The criminal case was pending in the 2nd Judicial District. Defendant in prison in District 1 and case against him pending in District 2.
Prosecution files application for search warrant in Judicial District 1, which is granted and the officers go to the prison in Johnson County and (eventually) get the DNA sample from the defendant.
In a footnote, the Tennessee Supreme Court remarked: The First Judicial District includes Johnson County, the county in which the defendant was incarcerated at the time. See Tenn. R. Crim. P. 41(a) (providing "[a] search warrant authorized by this rule may be issued by a magistrate with jurisdiction within the county wherein the property sought is located").
All this leaves out the issues of: was the judge working as a senior judge or by interchange?
You clearly need to hire an attorney to litigate this issue. I cannot answer for sure one way or the other, but I definitely lean towards the search being declared in violation of the law. If you are facing this issue, call an attorney located in your area. I will be glad to discuss your options with you as well and help you find someone if you are not located in Middle Tennessee. Best,
Andrew Love, Attorney at Law.
This information does not create an attorney client relationship and you should always consult an attorney in person before taking any action referred to in the above informational posting.