Let me begin by stating that I am terribly sorry for your loss and for what you have had to endure. Before proceeding, I'd like to clarify a couple things.
1. When the police very first arrived, it was clear that your wife had already passed away, correct?
2. Did anyone give them consent to search?
3. How much time passed before they obtained the search warrant?
The paremedics arrived first, and then the police. I believe they were not able to recesitate her again. The police asked me to sign a consent to search my room. They said the indoor garden gave them probable cause to search my bedroom for drugs.
I told them I would not sign that and did not want them looking through my wife's and my things. My wife and I have adult toys and tapes that to me was too personal for police to be looking through.
They said they were going to get a search warrant. They told me, "If we have to get a search warrant we will look through your entire house."
The Police went down to the Dudley Mass District Court and Judge Christopher Hat signed the search warrant. It took the police only an hour or two to excuted the search warrant.
On the warrant states, I find thier is probable cause to believe that the property described below, 1. is intended for use or has been used as the means of committing a crime. 2. has been concealed to prevent a crime from being discovered. 3. is unlawfully possed or concealed for an unlawful purpose.4. is evidence of a crime or is evidence of criminal activity. Marijuana, a class D controlled substance, as defined by M.G.L. Ch. 94C. and it goes on about narcotic drugs.
I'm tired and have to try to get some sleep. I have a wake to go to tomorrow and a funeral on Thursday. I will check my email tomorrow sometime. Thanks so much Joseph for listening, and responding to my questions.
But for the subsequently issued search warrant, I would suggest that you would have a compelling case against the police. As a general rule, they may enter someone's home under three circumstances, 1) with a warrant, 2) with consent or 3) with exigent circumstances. It sounds like you have an understanding as to the first two, exigent circumstances means there is some emergency, for example, if they heard someone calling from inside that they were in distress.
As none of these situations existed, it does not appear that they had the lawful ability to enter your home. Meaning, had the situation ended there, you had a solid lawsuit against law enforcement. However, the story does end there as they then went and obtained a search warrant. If you were to sue now, they would reply that they ultimately did obtain the warrant and, as such, the previous entry caused you no harm.
In my opinion, it's a close call here. As I've stated, if they never obtained a warrant, you would have a solid case. As they did later obtain a warrant, it certainly effects your argument of having been caused harm. My thought would be to set up an office conference with a local attorney that focuses on lawsuits against law enforcement. If you can have a lengthy face-to-face conversation with an attorney that is familiar with any local rules and customs, you can get a better understanding as to whether a lawsuit may be viable under these specific circumstances.
I understand you may have gone offline already. It has grown late and I'm signing off as well. Please feel free to reply, if necessary, tomorrow.
.I hope you found my answer helpful. If so, please click on "OK", "Good" or "Excellent" service. This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. Even if you are a subscription member, you will need to click on one of the positive indicators. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. .If you are not yet satisfied with my answer, please do not yet rate my service. Instead, please click on the "Reply to Expert" and let me know what else I can do for you. Please only rate my answer when you are fully satisfied..Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line..Leaving a bonus is not required but doing so is certainly appreciated! Thank you and good luck.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).