Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Telephonic Search Warrants

A request for a telephonic search warrant may only be made in circumstances that make it reasonable to dispense with a written affidavit. If the court deems the request reasonable, there are seven procedural steps the court

must follow:

  1. Record the entire conversation. The judge (or requesting officer) must record verbatim (electronically, stenographically, or by longhand) the testimony of all persons involved in making the warrant application.
  2. Place under oath the applicant (officer) and each person who will testify.
  3. The officer must prepare and read verbatim to the judge the “application for search warrant and warrant.”
  4. The judge must prepare an “original warrant” by recording, verbatim, what has been read by the officer.  Any modifications made by the judge must be included on the original and the duplicate original warrant.
  5. Upon a finding of “probable cause,” the judge directs the officer to sign the judge’s name on the duplicate original warrant (include date and time).
  6. The judge then signs the original warrant and enters on the face of the original warrant the exact time the judge signed it.
  7. After warrant is issued, the following post procedures must be followed:
  • The recording must be transcribed, as soon as practical.
  • The actual tape recording and transcription must be submitted to the judge, as soon as practical.
  • The judge must certify the accuracy of the transcription. If the record is longhand the judge must sign it.
  • The following must be filed with the court within ten days. a) the original warrant (the one prepared by the judge); b) the duplicate original warrant (the one prepared by the officer); c) the certified transcript of the recorded oral application; d) the actual tape recording (or other medium used to record, i.e. longhand).

All other requirements for the issuance of a warrant must also be met, including the basis for a no-knock and nighttime warrant.

Hon. Alan Pendleton

10th Judicial District, Anoka

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