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HB70 Forced Entry for Warrant Service

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan 2014 6:53 am
by bagpiper
Looks like we've got some bipartisan support for some restrictions on using forced entry for warrant service. I haven't read the actual bill yet, but KSL has an article on it.

Devil is in the details and I suspect this bill won't go nearly as far as most of us would like, but is it a step--however small--in the right direction? I will try to read and analyze it a bit later.

Charles

Re: HB70 Forced Entry for Warrant Service

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan 2014 9:14 am
by David Nelson
This bill modifies the Utah Code of Criminal Procedure regarding the use of forcible entry by law enforcement officers when conducting a search or making an arrest.

This bill:

. amends existing law regarding the use of forcible entry by law enforcement officers to include searches;
. requires law enforcement officers to identify themselves before forcing entry into a building;
. amends existing law to allow law enforcement officers to force entry into a building without first issuing a demand or explanation if there is probable cause to believe that evidence will be easily or quickly destroyed;
. requires law enforcement officers to use the least amount of force necessary when executing forcible entry, as authorized;
. requires that any application for a warrant to forcibly enter a place of residence shall:
. explain why law enforcement officials cannot use less invasive or confrontational methods to effectuate the necessary search or arrest;
. explain why the search or arrest cannot be executed during the day, if it is to be executed at night, as defined; and
. describe investigative activities that have been or will be undertaken prior to executing the search or arrest to ensure that the correct building has been identified or explain why no investigative activities are needed; and
. clarifies that any information or property obtained in violation of these provisions is inadmissable in court.

The primary improvements in this bill include: 1) the requirement for “law enforcement officers to use the least amount of force necessary when executing forcible entry, as authorized[,]” 2) the requirement that the judge or magistrate issuing a warrant “shall ensure that the affidavit: (a) explains why law enforcement officers are unable to detain the suspect or search the residence using less invasive or confrontational methods; (b) explains why the warrant cannot be executed during daylight hours, if the warrant is to be executed at night, which is the time between one hour after sunset on one day and one hour before sunrise on the following day; and (c) describes: (i) investigative activities that have been, or will be, undertaken prior to execution of the warrant to ensure that the correct building is identified and that potential harm to innocent third parties, the building, and law enforcement officers may be minimized; or (ii) why no investigative activities are needed[,]” and 3) the requirement that “[a]ny information or property obtained in violation of this section is inadmissible in any judicial proceedings.”

Re: HB70 Forced Entry for Warrant Service

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan 2014 10:49 am
by UtahJarhead
I think it further needs to be amended to state that forced entry can ONLY be used if the evidence in question is evidence in a forcible felony.

Re: HB70 Forced Entry for Warrant Service

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan 2014 11:14 am
by David Nelson
UtahJarhead wrote:I think it further needs to be amended to state that forced entry can ONLY be used if the evidence in question is evidence in a forcible felony.

I agree completely, but it appears that the bill is written such that it avoids defining future forced entries as much as possible, and laying the groundwork for consequent court reviews when a forced entry fails to meet the provisions of the bill.

Re: HB70 Forced Entry for Warrant Service

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan 2014 11:58 am
by UtahJarhead
David Nelson wrote:
UtahJarhead wrote:I think it further needs to be amended to state that forced entry can ONLY be used if the evidence in question is evidence in a forcible felony.

I agree completely, but it appears that the bill is written such that it avoids defining future forced entries as much as possible, and laying the groundwork for consequent court reviews when a forced entry fails to meet the provisions of the bill.

Ah. Baby steps. That makes sense. Laying the groundwork for more public support to limit them.

Re: HB70 Forced Entry for Warrant Service

PostPosted: Mon 10 Feb 2014 7:54 pm
by bagpiper
KSL is reporting that this bill was held in committee today. This is not unexpected as new ideas often take a while to gain traction.

You might want to thank sponsor Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Santaquin (and Senate sponsor, Luz Robles, for their (bipartisan) efforts and ask them to continue with these needed reforms.


Charles