Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Perjury to get search warrant?

A reader commented on yesterday's story about Zane Seipler's arbitration win:

"What about the search of Zane's squad and confiscation of his personal property during the sheriffs investigation. Then 2 days later they actually swore under oath to a judge to get a search warrant for a search they had already done. If that's not perjury I don't know what is."

I have not talked with Zane about this, so all the information I have is from this comment, but it could provide plenty to worry about.

First, was a warrant even necessary to search a squad car that belongs to the sheriff's department? Was it merely a case of removing any of Zane's personal belongings from the squad car for safe-keeping?

Was that personal property immediately retrievable by Zane? In other words, could he just go to the sheriff's department and pick up his own possessions that might have been in the squad car after his last time on duty?

Were his possessions picked through? That is, did those clearing out the car inspect his personal property closely and make any record of what they found beyond a general description to identify it? Was it all accounted for and later turned over to Zane?

Now, assuming that a search warrant was needed to remove any of his property, and apparently someone decided it was, why was the search conducted before a warrant was applied for? Or did someone say, "Oops!" after the search and decided they'd better go get a warrant?

Did the petition to the judge for the search warrant indicate that the search had already been performed? How was it worded? Was it carefully ambiguous so that, upon a subsequent reading, you really couldn't tell what was being asked? Surely, no judge would authorize a vague search warrant, would he?

Does a search warrant that has been executed become public record? Is it subject to a FOIA Request?

What agency is responsible for investigating allegations of perjury by a law enforcement agency in a petition for a search warrant? Certainly, the McHenry County Sheriff's Department shouldn't investigate itself in this matter. But who should? The Illinois State Police?

Can the public be assured of an impartial and complete investigation, if the Illinois State Police is called in about a suspected crime within the McHenry County Sheriff's Department?

1 comment:

GeneL said...

I would think that the judge who signed the search warrant after being lied to could impose a little time in the jail. Or have the SA convene a grand jury to hear the facts and decide if charges are in order.