N.D.Iowa: SW said “immediate search” but officers waited two days; not a 4A violation

The search warrant said that is should be executed “immediately,” but officers waited two days to coordinate with the multiple agencies involved. Rule 41(e) says “execute the warrant within a specified time no longer than 14 days.” At worse, this is only a minor violation of Rule 41. Moreover, there is no contention that probable cause still did not exist. In 1997, the Court of Appeals held that a four day delay in the face of “immediate search” was reasonable. This is, too. United States v. Juan, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175514 (N.D. Iowa Sept. 9, 2019), adopted, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175859 (N.D. Iowa Oct. 9, 2019):

Juan also argues that the execution of the search warrant violated the Fourth Amendment, because the warrant “commanded … immediate search” of the residence, but law enforcement did not search Juan’s residence until two days after the warrant was signed. See Doc. 27-1 at 20. Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(e)(2)(A)(i), “[t]he warrant must command the officer to … execute the warrant within a specified time no longer than 14 days.” Although the warrant here specified it was to be executed immediately, law enforcement waited two days because they were planning execution of the search warrant amongst DCI agents spread across the state and involving another agency as well (HSI). The Eighth Circuit has held that a search and seizure is not rendered “warrantless” such that the Fourth Amendment is violated merely because the seizure occurs outside the time specified by the warrant and a minor violation of Rule 41 occurs. See United States v. Nyah, 928 F.3d 694, 697, 701-02 (8th Cir. 2019) (holding that when warrant authorized seizure within fourteen days of issuance, the seizure of evidence on the fifteenth day “was ‘reasonable’ under traditional Fourth Amendment standards”; officers had delivered warrant to Facebook within fourteen days, but Facebook had not complied with the warrant, and the evidence had not been seized, until the fifteenth day, and the court relied on the officers’ lack of “reckless disregard of proper procedure,” as well as the continued existence of probable cause and lack of prejudice to defendant in determining suppression was not an appropriate remedy); United States v. Gibson, 123 F.3d 1121, 1124-25 (8th Cir. 1997) (holding that suppression was not required when warrant “commanded the police officers ‘to make immediate search,” but officers waited four days after issuance to execute the warrant “to provide some protection for the identity and safety of the [confidential] informant”; the court relied on the fact that probable cause had not “dissipated” and “render[ed] the warrant fatally stale”); see also United States v. Bedford, 519 F.2d 650, 655 (3d Cir. 1975) (“[I]t is generally accepted … that a warrant need only be executed within a reasonable time after its issuance, notwithstanding the presence of “forthwith” language in the warrant.”). Here, the delay in execution did not affect the existence of probable cause, and the warrant was executed within a reasonable time (two days) after its issuance. The delay in execution of the warrant does not require suppression.

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