Criminal Procedures

An affidavit is a written sworn statement. An affidavit is generally written, signed, and witnessed by notary or an officer of a court. This paper will use the United States Department of Justice guidelines for Searching and Seizing Computers and Obtaining Electronic Evidence in Criminal Investigations to explain what the affidavit is when conducting a constitutional search of property with a warrant. Purpose of an Affidavit In order to get a signed search warrant, law enforcement officials should present an affidavit and a proposed warrant.

The affidavit is the sworn statement of the official that explains to the judge or magistrate all of the information that establishes probable cause of criminal activity and thereby justifies issuing the warrant. The proposed warrant specifically describes the persons, places, and property to be searched and seized. If the affidavit cannot establish probable cause, the warrant will not be issued. What the Affidavit Accomplishes The affidavit should also include a detailed explanation of the proposed search strategies.

The affidavit explains the scope of the proposed search and seizure. It will explain whether there will be an onsite or offsite search of property. It must establish why it is necessary to take an item offsite for search, explain where it will be taken, and how the search will be conducted. It should demonstrate that all legal and practical issues have been considered and covered leaving no liability on the law enforcement official or the courts, and should ensure that evidence will be presentable in court.

The affidavit is designed to be a guideline for both law enforcement officials, judges or magistrates, and other court officers to establish that evidence was necessary, obtained legitimately, and investigated properly before admission to evidence. Reference Searching and Seizing Computers and Obtaining Electronic Evidence in Criminal Investigations. (July 2002). Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section Criminal Division United States Department of Justice. Retrieved February 21, 2008, from http://www. usdoj. gov/criminal/cybercrim e/s&smanual2002. htm#_II_ More Details