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Sgro v. United States


A magistrate issued a search warrant that was not executed until after the ten day limit (which was the limit at the time) had expired.


Whether the warrant was still valid?


No. Search warrants must be served within the timeframe of their limitations.


The proof of probable cause that must be made before a search warrant can be issued must be closely related in time to the issuance of the warrant. Whether the proof meets this test is determined by the circumstances of each case.

“While the statute does not fix the time within which proof of probable cause must be taken by the judge or commissioner, it is manifest that the proof must be of facts so closely related to the time of the issue of the warrant as to justify a finding of probable cause at that time. Whether the proof meets this test must be determined by the circumstances of each case. It is in the light of the requirement that probable cause must properly appear when the warrant issues that we must read the provision which in explicit terms makes a warrant void unless executed within ten days after its date. That period marks the permitted duration of the proceeding in which the warrant is issued. There is no provision which authorizes the commissioner to extend its life or to revive it.” Issuing judges may not extent the 10-day time limit (or the current 14- day time limit) for search warrants. The rules permit judges to issue new warrants if probable cause still exists at a later time.

NOTE: Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 41(e)(2)(A)(i) permits the issuing judge to allow the executing officer to serve a search warrant for up to 14 days.


287 U.S. 206, 53 S. Ct. 138 (1932)

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