IL: Mere “acceptance” of a package for an anticipatory warrant is overbroad

This anticipatory warrant’s triggering condition was “accept[ance]” of a package, not opening it although there were devices on it to tell the police that, too. Mere acceptance of the package makes it overbroad and vests too much discretion in the police as to when to execute. People v. Harris, 2015 IL App (1st) 132162, 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 456 (June 17, 2015):

[*P36] We reject the State’s broad interpretation of “accept” as it would cast a wide net over the categories of people and locations subject to search and vest equally broad discretion in the officers to determine when the required triggering event had occurred. If we view the anticipatory search warrant in this case independent of the information provided by the device, as the State urges us to do, we would find the required particularity lacking as the warrant fails to specify in any meaningful way the person or location to be searched. For example, under the State’s expansive definition of “accept” urged here, the officers could have arrested and searched (i) a next door neighbor who, seeing the package on the front steps of the unoccupied home, brought it inside her home to later give to a family member, (ii) the opportunistic thief who, observing an unattended package on the steps, decided to make off with it with the obvious “intent to retain” it, or (iii) a realtor who, upon arriving with a prospective buyer, brought the package inside the home for safekeeping. In other words, the State’s position is that the officers had broad discretion to arrest and search any number of people who might come into contact with the package without opening it, a result at odds with the “almost ministerial” role officers are intended to play in the execution of an anticipatory warrant. Ricciardelli, 998 F.2d at 12. As the foregoing hypotheticals illustrate, this interpretation of “accept” deprives the warrant of the particularity required to uphold its validity. See People v. Reed, 202 Ill. App. 3d 760, 763 (1990) (search warrant that mentioned only one specific name and then encompassed all “‘other persons present in a public bar’” held defectively open-ended and unconstitutional).

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