If sexual harassment cases against Trooper Hardbutt arise because of Brenda’s case and triggers an investigation by the internal affairs unit of the Vermont Department of Public Safety, operatives of the internal affairs unit could search the computer of Trooper Hardbutt simply by applying for a search warrant. A search warrant is an order that could be obtained from a judge after showing probable cause of a crime. The usual method of showing probable cause is for police officers to present sworn affidavits by complainants alleging to the crime committed.
Once a search warrant is obtained, it will authorize police officers to search for evidence needed to prove their case. The warrant should contain complete information about the search, namely: the location of the place to be searched and the date as well as the inclusive time during which the search is to be conducted. For instance, in this case, the warrant should specify that the computer of Trooper Hardbutt will be searched, say, February 25, 2008, between 8 o’clock in the morning and 12 o’clock at noon.
The warrant should also specify what data the operatives would be looking for – in this case, harassing e-mail messages which Trooper Hardbutt purportedly sent to his female co-workers during the past three years (Nolo, 2008). The application for a search warrant could not be questioned by Trooper Hardbutt or his lawyer, Sheila Shyster, since it will be made without their knowledge or presence.
The search, however, as well as all the evidence produced during the search, could be challenged in court by the suspect’s lawyer when the trial gets underway. His lawyer could cite inaccuracies or incomplete information divulged by police officers at the time the warrant was applied for. However, as long as the search warrant was properly obtained and used by the operatives of the internal affairs unit, Sheila Shyster would not be able to challenge it nor question the admissibility of the evidence that it produced (Nolo, 2008).
References Hefferan, J. J. ,Jr. (2005). Employers’ Liability for Their Employees’ Intentional Torts. Trial Briefs. Retrieved February 15, 2008 from http://www. kilstock. com/publications/downloads/JimHefferanNCTrialBriefs. pdf IU News Room. (2004). Fighting words: Hess v. Indiana tested limits of free speech during wartime. Retrieved February 15, 2008 from http://newsinfo. iu. edu/news/page/normal/1725. html