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Search Warrants & Incurred Expenses

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  • Search Warrants & Incurred Expenses

    A couple of months ago I served a court order to produce records (search warrant) on Qwest in order to obtain phone records. Now get this, they sent me a bill for a $1000. I've asked some of our detectives who do this on a regular basis and occasionally they might see phone companies charge $50. I'm trying to find information regarding incurred expenses during search warrants, if there is such a thing. If anybody out there has experienced something similar, or have some information to say police departments are not subject to these types of charges, I'd like to hear from you. Thanks

    Todd from Colorado

  • #2
    Originally posted by TheLousyCop
    A couple of months ago I served a court order to produce records (search warrant) on Qwest in order to obtain phone records. Now get this, they sent me a bill for a $1000. I've asked some of our detectives who do this on a regular basis and occasionally they might see phone companies charge $50. I'm trying to find information regarding incurred expenses during search warrants, if there is such a thing. If anybody out there has experienced something similar, or have some information to say police departments are not subject to these types of charges, I'd like to hear from you. Thanks

    Todd from Colorado
    Ive written & served a pretty fair number of warrants & court orders. I've never had anyone try to charge me a penny. I'd run it up your chain of command & tell them to pound sand.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TheLousyCop
      A couple of months ago I served a court order to produce records (search warrant) on Qwest in order to obtain phone records. Now get this, they sent me a bill for a $1000. I've asked some of our detectives who do this on a regular basis and occasionally they might see phone companies charge $50. I'm trying to find information regarding incurred expenses during search warrants, if there is such a thing. If anybody out there has experienced something similar, or have some information to say police departments are not subject to these types of charges, I'd like to hear from you. Thanks

      Todd from Colorado
      I fail to see how any company or person can legally charge a fee in obedience to a court ordered search warrant. If they were going to attempt to charge, I would think they would try and charge the court that issed the order. It's something I have never heard of.
      Retired

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      • #4
        They can't charge you for a search warrant. It's a court order; not a request.

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        • #5
          Sorry fellas, I do a number of search warrants, court orders and wiretaps and yes they can charge for the work to put the stuff together. There is usually a flat fee, depending on the companies
          Some companies and corporation may not but there is nothing that says they can't.
          Have your department take it up with their counsel.
          "The policeman is sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for he will will have you punished. He is sent by God for that very purpose" - Rom 13:4

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          • #6
            Originally posted by BlackKnight
            Sorry fellas, I do a number of search warrants, court orders and wiretaps and yes they can charge for the work to put the stuff together. There is usually a flat fee, depending on the companies
            Some companies and corporation may not but there is nothing that says they can't.
            Have your department take it up with their counsel.
            They can charge, few if any will pay.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Stan Switek
              They can charge, few if any will pay.
              True, and a few companies understand the work we do and are pro-law enforcement, so they don't charge.
              Then there are the others.
              "The policeman is sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for he will will have you punished. He is sent by God for that very purpose" - Rom 13:4

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BlackKnight
                Sorry fellas, I do a number of search warrants, court orders and wiretaps and yes they can charge for the work to put the stuff together. There is usually a flat fee, depending on the companies
                Some companies and corporation may not but there is nothing that says they can't.
                Have your department take it up with their counsel.
                I stand corrected.

                I guess the way around that would be on the next records search warrant, show up with a pry bar and go through the file cabinet yourself.

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                • #9
                  If a court orders the seizure of documents or records under the authority of a search warrant then you are acting as an agent for the court in so far as you are serving the search warrant and obtaining the records.

                  When you serve the warrant on a business, that is the custodian of the records being sought, it is accepted by the courts (here anyway) that the custodian of records will make copies of the documents and then sign an affidavit certifying that the documents are a complete and accurate reflection of the originals.

                  I have never had a business charge for copying their records in response to a search warrant.
                  Job description as told by an old timer: "Drive fast cars, look at pretty women, and drink coffee".

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lucky Seven
                    I have never had a business charge for copying their records in response to a search warrant.
                    That's because most companies understand and accept what you are doing. The problem is that there is no legislation that says that they can't charge for time and equipment. Very much the same a defense attorney has to pay for any thing that is discoverable.
                    There was a time that cell phone companies (who I deal with on a daily basis) were charging ridiculous prices as a way be screw with the law enforcement agencies. As it appears in this instance. As it has been mentioned, it is correct that they still have to provide the information, but the fee IMO can be argued. If you get a good prosecutors can he/she can also argue in front of a judge that the fee is doen in an effort to be uncooperative.
                    Some are great though. You wind up learning who you can work with and who you have to have your District Attorney of Prosecutor or call.
                    Keep in mind I'm basing my opinion on my exeperiences with banks/phone (cellular and regular), utilities, hospitals and businesses.
                    Last edited by BlackKnight; 06-25-2005, 07:30 PM.
                    "The policeman is sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for he will will have you punished. He is sent by God for that very purpose" - Rom 13:4

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                    • #11
                      Not only have I had companies charge but some government agencies charge for records. I fight it, argue it and take it up the chain of command. After that I pay it and voucher it off.

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