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Challenging Missouri Search and/or Seizure Warrant

Under Missouri law, an police officer may apply for a search warrant. Section 542-276, RSMo, sets forth the required elements for the application: (1) Be in writing; (2) State the time and date of the making of the application; (3) Identify the property, article, material, substance or person which is to be searched for and seized, in sufficient detail and particularity that the officer executing the warrant can readily ascertain it; (4) Identify the person, place, or thing which is to be searched, in sufficient detail and particularity that the officer executing the warrant can readily ascertain whom or what he or she is to search; (5) State facts sufficient to show probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant; (6) Be verified by the oath or affirmation of the applicant; (7) Be filed in the proper court; (8) Be signed by the prosecuting attorney of the county where the search is to take place, or his or her designated assistant.

It is, however, sometimes the case that a warrant is procedurally defective — or, in more serious circumstances, is not supported by sound probably cause. In such cases, Missouri law sets out procedures for challenging a warrant. With a Motion to Suppress, a court may set aside a warrant and order return of any seized property on the following grounds —

(1) That the search and seizure were made without warrant and without lawful authority; (2) That the warrant was improper upon its face or was illegally issued, including the issuance of a warrant without proper showing of probable cause; (3) That the property seized was not that described in the warrant and that the officer was not otherwise lawfully privileged to seize the same; (4) That the warrant was illegally executed by the officer; (5) That in any other manner the search and seizure violated the rights of the movant under section 15 of article I of the Constitution of Missouri, or the fourth and fourteenth amendments of the Constitution of the United States.

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