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Thread: "Sneak & Peek" Warrants Allow Police to Enter Homes Without Notice

  1. #1

    "Sneak & Peek" Warrants Allow Police to Enter Homes Without Notice

    "Sneak & Peek" Warrants Allow Police to Enter Homes Without Notice
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    A little-known police tactic allows cops to covertly enter private residences, perform searches, seize property, and then leave quietly without notifying the homeowner. These searches, affectionately known as “sneak and peek” warrants, have been performed at a rapidly rising rate since 9/11.

    Covert Tactics
    Sneak and Peek warrants in actuality a more extreme version of the over-used “no-knock” raids that we cover so often. After seeking out a judge’s authorization, police are allowed to secretly break into private property without first announcing themselves or presenting the subject of the search with a signed warrant. Using this variety of warrant, officers intentionally wait until the subject is not present. The operations are performed covertly, and with the intention of masking the fact that any police activity took place.

    The entire premise encourages government agents to adopt the tactics of criminals in order to gain access to property: breaking and entering, sneaking around, stealing, and risking a surprise confrontation with an unsuspecting civilian.

    Often, the investigators leave the property undisturbed to avoid detection. After taking what they want and/or leaving wiretaps, cameras, or other planted devices, they exit quietly so as not to raise suspicions.

    Sometimes, however, the agents literally stage the scenes to resemble robberies — sneak and steal operations. In one 2010 case, federal investigators broke into an Cleveland apartment, collected evidence, and then “trashed the place to make it look like a burglary.”

    The feds have used similar tactics when searching vehicles. According to a Department of Justice document, DEA agents used a delayed-notice warrant to literally steal a suspect’s car in March 2004. After following the suspect to a restaurant in Buffalo, NY, one agent “used a duplicate key to enter the vehicle and drive away while other agents spread broken glass in the parking space to create the impression that the vehicle had been stolen.”

    The government is supposed to eventually tell the subject that a warrant had been served on them, but that may not happen for months or sometimes more than a year. A report by the Director Director of the Administrative Office (AO) of U.S. Courts found that the period of delay in telling the suspect they had been served a warrant ranged from 1 to 455 days. The most common length of delay was 90 days.

    Terminology and History
    Officially, the government has termed these warrants innocuously as “Delayed-Notice Search Warrants.” Calling the tactics what they are — covert home invasions or “Sneak and Peek” searches — would not be helpful for public relations.

    The man that President Obama chose to head the FBI, James Comey, once explained the etymological spin used by the government to present the tactics in a positive light: “We in law enforcement do not call them [sneak and peek warrants]… because it conveys this image that we are looking through your sock drawer while you are taking a nap.” [3]

    In private, the government once used a more honest description of the tactic — back when it was not legally recognized. They were quite literally referred to as “black bag jobs” within the FBI, as Bureau domestic intelligence head William Sullivan revealed in a declassified memo dated July 19, 1966:

    “We do not obtain authorization for ‘black bag’ jobs from outside the Bureau. Such a technique involves trespass and is clearly illegal; therefore, it would be impossible to obtain any legal sanction for it. Despite this, ‘black bag’ jobs have been used because they represent an invaluable technique in combating subversive activities of a clandestine nature aimed directly at undermining and destroying our nation.”
    ...

    Institutionalized Injustice
    The use of these tactics opens the doors for numerous problems, corruption, and unintended consequences.

    Secret searches not only reduce/eliminate the privacy and freedom of those targeted in the investigation — who are legally innocent until proven guilty — but also spurs an insecurity within the entire community. As Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor noted in a 2012 case regarding secret GPS tracking, “awareness that the Government may be watching chills associational and expressive freedoms.”

    Another glaring problem is the risk of having police officers barging in on unsuspecting people. Despite investigators’ best efforts to avoid contact, a sneak and peek search could easily be performed while a subject or family member is still present in the house. When the police enter without notice, they will appear indistinguishable from criminal home invaders. Violent confrontations may arise, as they often do with the use of standard “no-knock” warrants.

    It is also worth noting that clandestine “black bag jobs” are a perfect working environment for corrupt government agents. If their objective is to stage a robbery, they can quite literally steal property for their own benefit and never report it to the courts. Pocketing cash and valuables would be quite easy for state-sanctioned burglars operating without any witnesses. Officers also have a practically unchecked ability to plant evidence and incriminate the subject.

    Indeed, the secrecy and lack of witnesses in these situations makes it incredibly difficult to hold the police accountable for any wrongdoing that might occur.

    The problem of Sneak and Peek warrants has been institutionalized by the legislature, and it must be reversed there as well. The courts are unlikely to go against the precedents that have already been established. If clandestine police tactics are of concern to the public, the people must spur a legal change and push back on these advanced state powers.

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    All rights reserved. Without prejudice. No liability assumed. No value assured.

    "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
    "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2
    Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Thess. 5:21.

  2. #2
    I'm surprised they haven't been sued yet, the Founders must be rolling in their graves.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by loveunderlaw View Post
    I'm surprised they haven't been sued yet, the Founders must be rolling in their graves.
    How many people do you suspect are competent to sue them without an attorney? How many attorneys do you suspect aren't so in on the racket as to intentionally steer such suits into nothingness?
    All rights reserved. Without prejudice. No liability assumed. No value assured.

    "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
    "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2
    Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Thess. 5:21.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by allodial View Post
    How many people do you suspect are competent to sue them without an attorney? How many attorneys do you suspect aren't so in on the racket as to intentionally steer such suits into nothingness?

    Sadly enough most people these days don't care enough to go the Law Library & figure things out on their own, these days the 4th Amendment is really under fire too by greedy\corrupt people working for their own personal gain instead of actually upholding the law. Ask them about Baseball or Basketball statistics, that seems to interest most people more than learning about the "boring" law & various jurisdictions out there we are
    dealing with daily.

  5. #5
    House paid for? Build a fence. Put a gate around your porch. Register the property as private if there is no mortgage. Post a sign that says "PRIVATE PROPERTY". If the law isn't being enforced in an area that probably means there isn't lawful government there.
    All rights reserved. Without prejudice. No liability assumed. No value assured.

    "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
    "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2
    Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Thess. 5:21.

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