The defense moved to suppress the hydroponic grow house that was confiscated as a result of the incomplete warrant. The trial court granted the defense motion holding that failure to sign a search warrant constituted a fatal flaw necessitating suppression. The 3rd DCA reversed on Constitutional grounds. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the decision but disagreed with the DCA’s reasoning. According to the high court, the absence of an affiant’s signature is a matter of statutory construction as the United States Constitution has no affidavit requirement but rather an “oath or affirmation” requirement. The Florida Constitution has different, more specific requirements than the US Constitution.
The Florida Supreme Court defaulted to a totality of the circumstances analysis in deciding to give law enforcement a pass on meeting the statutory requirement that their search warrants be signed. Since the detective had the best of intentions, was aware of perjury sanctions for falsifying a warrant, and she’d initialed the other pages, the FSC affirmed the DCA’s “close enough” analysis.
The Supremes have gone skating down the slippery slope when relying on law enforcement’s “intentions” to the detriment of statutory requirements. What is at the bottom of that slippery slope is uncertain…other than there will be unbridled government authority and no Constitution anywhere in sight.
So, am I clear to fill out my monthly check to the utility company completely except for that pesky signature line?
The Law Offices of Colón & McNelis, P.A. aggressively represents people throughout Central Florida in Personal Injury, Social Security/Disability, Immigration, Family, Criminal Defense, and Probate matters. Colón & McNelis, (863) 534-3777, www.colonandmcnelis.com.