1. Leonardo Pisano
    Offline

    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    13

    Legal question regarding trespassing

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Leonardo Pisano, May 21, 2011.

    I hope someone here has a legal background to help me with a specific question.

    In my story I have a building, owned by A, fully private. In it, there are vaults, one of them fully owned by B. The vaults are all fully surrounded by the premises, owned by A. Now the police has a search warrant for B's vault. Can A legally refuse access to his premises? In other words, does the police also need a warrant to enter A's premises in order to be able to get access to B's vault?
     
  2. Trilby
    Offline

    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,098
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    NE England
    I don't know they answer to this Q.
    But I would imagine that B must have access rights to his vaults - therefore I think the police could use this fact as a reason to gain access without needing to get an extra search warrant for A.

    Unless A is in cahoots B, I don't see A refusing access.
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I think you are really better off hitting a lawyer's forum. There must be one - shark's do hunt together ;)

    I suspect the warrant would prevail, but anything the police saw en route would not be admissible in court, nor anything derived from such discovery.
     
  4. James Scarborough
    Offline

    James Scarborough Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    San Jose, Costa Rica (Central America)
    There's no black letter rule of law that governs this. It depends on the facts and circumstances and on the jusridiction - state, federal and perhaps even local. Usually the state or district attorney applies to a judge or magistrate for the warrant, demonstrating probable cause and naming specifically both the premises and the items to be searched for.

    If they can't access the premises directly without entering through other premises - such as a bank vault, for example, the bank would normally be named in the search warrant and might reasonably insist that they be ordered to permit access in order to avoid potential legal liability if they consented voluntarily to the search.

    Warrantless searches are allowed in many jurisdictions and neither the landlord nor the tenant can refuse access. However, any evidence gained in an illegal search and seizure may not be permissable in court, unless there is an exception. There are numerous exceptions and a great deal of court time is frequently spent by prosecutors and defense attorneys arguing over exclusion of evidence. Frequently neither side knows how the court will rule until the evidence hearing. No lawyer can give you a definite answer to your question. Accordingly, my advice is that you not make an issue of it unless it's important to the story.

    PS. Yes, I'm an attorney, now retired.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Leonardo Pisano
    Offline

    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    13
    Thanks, James. It's important to the story in the sense that A sells vaults in combination to providing a security service, while banks rent such vaults. I think (intuitively) the owner has more protection than when he simply hires a safe at a bank. But your answer makes clear that it is subject to local regulations, so I can just leave the issue floating and work around it. It's a relatively minor issue. Thanks again, and if you have a technology question to this mechanical engineer, not yet retired, I would be my privilege to help you.

    Trilby: I don't think that the access rights are transferable; besides, access can be subject to conditions, e.g., certain time slots.

    Cogito: good suggestion. I always learned to think like a shark without becoming one....
     
  6. FedRafaFan
    Offline

    FedRafaFan New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    If they have a warrant, it's for the place and the thing. Warrants are required to state "with particularity the places and things to be searched." So, if they have a warrant to search B's thing on A's property, the owner could not refuse.
     
  7. Laser Sailor
    Offline

    Laser Sailor Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a former law enforcement officer, I can confirm this. Warrants are written very specifically ie:

    Mr. XXX's Vault
    located at

    Suite #3 Room #2
    123 Fake St.
    Baltamore, MD

    The owner of the suite cannot refuse entry because the warrant legally overrides his 4th amendment right. But only for exactly what's written on the warrant itself. The police must take the most direct route to the vault, and cannot for example snoop around inside the room in which the vault is located as the warrant is only good for the contents of the vault. However, if Mr. Property Owner has a baggie of cocaine or a dead hooker laying on the table in the same room as the vault, it would be legal for the cops to sieze that as evidence under the "plain view" doctrine.

    Another example; A warrant to search for a specific stolen car would on Mr. XX's property would only cover places on the property that a stolen car might be hidden, you can't hide a car in a dresser drawer so the dresser would be off limits. However sometimes warrants are written slightly vauge which gives the cops more leeway in their search. If the warrant was written to search for a specific stolen car, parts from the stolen car, the contents of the stolen car and any object that may have been used to steal the car, the cops will have much more lattitude in their search as many objects either from the car or used to steal it may fit in the dresser drawers.

    The above example is how warrants are used in the real world.
     
  8. Leonardo Pisano
    Offline

    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    13
    Thanks all for your time and help. Really helped me going forward.
     

Share This Page