Invalidation of a Search Warrant
– A Successful Case Held By Our Office –
The Public Prosecution’s warrant for seizure and search is considered part of the investigative procedures and should only be issued in cases where a crime has already occurred, and there is strong evidence indicating the involvement of a particular suspect, along with evidence that justifies violating their personal freedom or the sanctity of their residence.
For such a warrant to be valid, it must be issued by the competent jurisdiction prosecutor, based on serious investigations, that are handwritten, signed, and dated, with the name of the suspect or the place to be searched, along with a specific timeframe. If the judicial officer conducting the procedure exceeds the allotted timeframe, the action shall be deemed invalid. Furthermore, if the warrant is issued after the search or seizure has already taken place, it will also be considered invalid.
In order to conduct a home search, there must be an accusation against a particular individual who resides there and evidence, or signs, that support the accusation. If the investigation is being carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, they cannot search the home of an individual who is not a suspect unless they have obtained permission from a magistrate.
It is incumbent upon the defendant to assert the invalidity of the Public Prosecution’s authorization before the competent court, using clear and explicit language that includes a statement of intent and clarification of what they believe invalidates the seizure and search warrant. Otherwise, the argument will be deemed unacceptable. The court must address this contention and decide on its merits based on valid reasons, as disregarding this substantive argument could result in the nullification of the judgment.
It is important to mention that the issue of seizure and search invalidity cannot be presented for the first time at the Court of Cassation, as it involves legal defenses that are closely linked to the facts and necessitate an in-depth inquiry.
Herein we refer to a particular case where the Public Prosecution issued a search warrant for the residence of the accused. The search resulted in the seizure of illicit substances.
During the trial, the defendant’s attorney demonstrated that the accused did not reside at the authorized residence and that the property was owned by another individual. The attorney argued for the invalidity of the warrant issued by the Public Prosecution, as it exceeded the scope of authority; the jurisdiction to search a non-defendant’s residence lies with the magistrate judge, not the Public Prosecution.
The court convicted the defendant without addressing this fundamental argument. Consequently, an appeal was filed before the Court of Cassation, citing a deficiency in the reasoning of the judgment as the court should have addressed the defendant’s argument regarding the invalidity of the search warrant and the consequences arising from it.
The Court of Cassation ruled to overturn the judgment and acquitted the defendant after concluding that the search warrant was indeed invalid and that there was no evidence in the case other than the evidence derived from the invalid procedure.
To conclude, the purpose of this article is to emphasize the sanctity of homes and that they should not be entered, searched, surveilled, or eavesdropped upon without a substantiated judicial order.
Should you have any further questions about this alert, please feel free to reach out to one of our experts.