If a defendant and his or her attorney believe that some of the evidence being used against them has been obtained illegally because the police lied to get a search warrant, they will file a Franks motion. This is a request to the courts for a Franks hearing. During the hearing, the courts will try to determine if the police lied or misstated information as a means to get a judge to issue a warrant.
The name Franks comes from a 1978 case from Delaware, Franks v. Delaware 438 US 154. This case found that the defendants have the right to challenge warrants that seize their effects or papers, as well as arrest warrants, and elements that would build a case against them. The Supreme Court found that in some cases, the defense should get a hearing to determine the integrity and legitimacy of the officer’s affidavit that was used to get the warrant.
Getting a Franks Hearing
In order for the defense to get one of these hearings, they need to be able to meet certain conditions. The defense first needs to show that there was a false statement on the affidavit, and that the statement “knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless regard” was used by the police in their affidavit to get the judge to agree to a search warrant. The burden of proof is on the defense to show that this occurred.
In addition, the defense needs to show the false information was essential for the determination of probable cause. This means that if the parts of the affidavit that were not true were not essential and that there was other information in the warrant that would have been able to show probably cause when setting aside the false information, the defense will not be able to get a Franks hearing.
Even though some of the information on the affidavit might be incorrect, the courts may decide that the police still had probable cause and that the warrant executed was valid.
However, it is important to remember that each case is different. If you believe that you have been the victim of improper police procedure, whether it was reckless or purposeful, it is important to let an attorney know. They can look at the affidavit and determine whether you have a chance of getting a Franks motion and hearing.
What If the Courts Agree With You?
If the courts find that the Texas police were in the wrong and that they lied or were negligent with the affidavit for the warrant, then parts of the evidence and information gathered will become inadmissible in court. In some cases, this could make all the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.
Talk with an attorney today about your case and to see what steps you should take. If there is a chance that a Franks motion might be in order, the attorneys will start the process with the courts, and this could help you immensely with your case.