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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.
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