Electronic Warrants

Electronic warrants are digitally produced authorizations that allow law enforcement to conduct a search or arrest legally. They save valuable time during remote operations when it can be difficult to travel to a courthouse. The ACLU’s Surveillance & Privacy Counsel, Jennifer Stisa Granick, has published an article on the topic.

EWI Ewarrant enables courts and law enforcement to collaborate remotely in a secure, cloud-based environment. The system allows officers to use a simple, easy-to-use app to complete the warrant application, and the judge to review and sign it. All parties can communicate in real-time using a video conference session. It is a fully automated process that ensures the proper procedures are followed and there is a true audit trail for future reference.

It is worth noting that in the past, the only way for a magistrate to issue a search warrant was to do it in person. Some felt this was not sufficient given the intangible nature of computer data. This paper proposes amending Public Act 189, which deals with search warrants, to allow magistrates to do electronically what they can do in person.

Additionally, the Ewarrant system enables the court to immediately enter all warrant information into its warrant management system which is linked to CJIS (MGLA SS 276-23A). This makes the system instantly available to the police department who are responsible for serving the warrants, and eliminates the need for the officer to contact the clerk’s office in person to request the search warrant be recalled or removed. electronic warrants

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