Stale Search Warrants: “Probable cause, with time, dissipates”


In a recent SC Supreme Court case, State v. Simmons, the court analyzed a search warrant for a computer in regards to child pornography. The “supporting affidavit was based on information from November 2013” and the search warrant was obtained June 2014 (seven months later).


The court first explained the need for probable cause in a search warrant and timeliness:

The court then examined how federal appellate courts have treated time delays with search warrants and probable cause in relation to similar cases:


Applying the facts of this case to the case law, the court held that the probable cause for the search warrant was not unreasonably stale and thus upheld it. The court emphasized though that whether or not a search warrant is stale will be “case-specific.”



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Daniel@everydayevidence.og

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