Ehlmann Adds Amendment to Specify Search Warrant Data
Raymond W. Vodicka Of the St. Charles Post, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
State Sen. Steve Ehlmann has amended a crime bill in the Missouri Legislature to require law enforcement officials to provide more certain information to get search warrants from judges.
The intent is to prevent a recurrence of the raid that took place April 30 in St. Charles County. A criminal informer told police that illegal guns were stored in the house. But the raid turned up none, and the family that lived there was declared innocent.
Ehlmann said his amendment would require either the prosecutor or police to provide additional information that the informer is reliable "or that there is some sort of corroborating evidence that, in fact, what is in the house is in there."
The law requires only that officials provide information to establish probable cause for a search warrant to be issued.
Ehlmann said charging such informers afterward with giving false information to police "is no big deal to them" if they already are headed to prison.
After the raid April 30, Matthew J. Hoppe, the informer, was charged with giving false information to a police officer, a misdemeanor.
"There should be some additional protection for the innocent person," Ehlmann said. …