Q&A: How to obtain search warrants

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From the Evansville Courier & Press::

Q: Who do I ask for copies of search warrants, the judge or county clerk of the courts?

A: It depends on which office has physical custody of the document when you ask. The prosecutor or policy agency will make the request directly to the judge, so his staff will initially receive the search warrant request and possibly an accompanying affidavit of probable cause to issue the warrant.

At some point, the documents probably will be transferred to the clerk of the courts for permanent record-keeping.

This might be a day later or several days if the judge keeps the warrant until law enforcement has filed a return on the warrant, outlining its actions under the warrant and if the police seized anything.

When you get wind of a warrant that you want to inspect, I’d suggest you start with the judge.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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