Writer Question: Can a Roommate Give Consent to Search Another’s Room ?

Crime Writers Panel Hey, Fellow Crime Writers! Search and seizure can be tricky. And if it’s not done correctly, an investigator will have another set of problems on their hands. Think about some of the crime shows on television where the officer enters brandishing a search warrant.  Even with a warrant, there are some things a detective can’t do.


Courtesy of Joe Giacalone:

There is no such thing as a “Murder Scene Exception” to obtaining a search warrant. Just because the person is dead, does not always equate to a consent search. Initially, the police can enter the location based under the Emergency Exception. They are allowed to search for additional victims and the perpetrator(s). They cannot search for or gather evidence at this stage. Once the emergency is over however, a determination must be made if a search warrant will be necessary to process the scene and collect evidence.

An on-the-scene meeting between the case investigator and the investigating supervisor should take place. The question that must be asked and answered at this moment is, “Does the suspect have an absolute privacy to this location?”

If you’re writing a scene involving this situation, here is a great post by Joe Giacalone over at Cold Case Squad called: The Search Warrant Conundrum and Crime Scenes

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