Imagine a couple driving down the road and lawfully being stopped by police. Next, envision that traffic stop turning into an arrest and the couple's phones being seized, their vehicle being impounded, and their computer and tablet within the vehicle taken to the inventory room at the police department. If you are thinking this does not sound like anything out of the ordinary, you would be correct. However, imagine their defense attorney constantly asking for the phone, tablet, and computer to be given back to the couple so that evidence on these devices could be examined for their criminal case. Finally, think about what stress this couple endured with their ongoing criminal proceedings and search warrants for these devices not being obtained until 539 and 702 days later. This is currently a reality in the area of criminal law and many individuals are waiting long periods of time before their personal belongings are returned to them.
This Comment will begin by exploring the Fourth Amendment as it relates to seizures and search warrants. Then, the discussion will continue by exploring Supreme Court cases relating to this issue. Next, the discussion will center on how the courts in certain circuits and states are ruling on this issue and finally attempt to synthesize a benchmark test from these cases.
Brianna N. Stanley, Comment, The Reasonableness and Unreasonableness of Delays in Obtaining Search Warrants, 71 Mercer L. Rev. 1149 (2020).