Investigations into criminal activity usually include going to physical locations to collect evidence. This is a process that must be handled in exactly the right manner. Without the correct process, there is a good chance that all the evidence collected with be inadmissible in court.
When a warrant is issued for a search, the warrant has to state what items are supposed to be seized. The issue with white collar crimes is that the documents taken during the search must be clearly outlined in the warrant so that all paperwork isn’t seized.
The avoidance of generalized warrants is something that is outlined in the Fourth Amendment. Warrants must contain information that particularly describes what is allowed to be seized. Oftentimes, warrants will stipulate specific types of documents that could relate to the white collar crime case. The prosecution might have to show that even documents that seem harmless and common could contain crucial evidence.
There was a case in which agents seized all types of documents from a person’s records. These included divorce papers, x-rays of family members and a host of other things like sports schedules for children. A judge found that the collection of evidence and the information in the warrant was unacceptable and deemed the search was unconstitutional due to the lack of specificity in the warrant.
Reviewing the warrant and calling matters like this into question might be suitable in some white collar crime cases. If you are facing this type of charge, make sure that you consider this point as you determine the focal points of your defense.
Source: The New York Times, “Mishandle a Fraud Search, and All That Fine Evidence Could Be for Nothing,” Peter J. Henning, accessed Sep. 19, 2017