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apgambrell
03-25-2014, 05:48 AM
If a warrant is to be served to two parties that live under the same roof, does it matter who gets served first? Also, can it be just one warrant or are separate warrants required?

Phyllo
03-25-2014, 06:07 AM
Where does this take place? What kind of warrant: criminal, civil? Search warrant? Arrest warrant? What is the relationship between the two people (husband and wife? parent-child? Roommates? other?)?

apgambrell
03-25-2014, 06:12 AM
Father and son. One killed a woman but it is unclear who because the DNA that was matched to the DNA on the evidence came from cigarette butts. Half matched the evidence but the other half of the butts matched a close family member. This forces my main characters to get a warrant for both the father and the son so they can arrest the right guy.

MDSchafer
03-25-2014, 06:24 AM
Search warrant or arrest warrant?

apgambrell
03-25-2014, 06:28 AM
What kind is needed for taking a DNA sample?

NeuroGlide
03-25-2014, 07:46 AM
What kind is needed for taking a DNA sample?

Country? It would be a specific warrant in the US (a variant of search I believe). In Britain, no warrant needed.

jkellerford
03-25-2014, 09:02 AM
Wow, my paralegal background might just come in handy. :-)

I'm not sure what State your characters live in. but at least 27 states have some sort of laws regulating the way DNA samples can be obtained. Sadly, the Supreme Court ruled in June 2013 that Law enforcement can force suspects arrested for serious crimes to give samples of their DNA without a warrant. This ruling reversed a 2012 court ruling which said that taking DNA samples from suspects without a warrant was a breach of the Fourth Amendment right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure.

Most individual State laws dictate that DNA samples may be obtained through consent, a search and siezure warrant or abandonment of evidence.

What do the criminal attorneys I know recommend? If a search and siezure warrant hasn't been issued, one should refuse to submit to a DNA test until they can speak with an attorney. If offered anything to eat or drink by the police, they should refrain because DNA can be obtained from a glass or saliva. Suspects should not chew gum while in custody because DNA can be obtained from that.

If your characters consent to a DNA test because they feel they have nothing to hide, they give up protection under their 4th Amendment Rights. If the police take a swab or a hair sample without your permission, the attorney might argue the case be thrown out due to 'illegal search and siezure'; however, with the Supreme Court's ruling, the other side may argue the warrant was not needed.

Depending on how you want to play this out, the plot could become very thick and very interesting. Good luck!!

apgambrell
03-25-2014, 02:37 PM
It's in Texas.

jkellerford
03-25-2014, 04:57 PM
According to Art. 18.07 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures, a search warrant for DNA samples is required:

Art. 18.07. DAYS ALLOWED FOR WARRANT TO RUN. (a) The period allowed for the execution of a search warrant, exclusive of the day of its issuance and of the day of its execution, is:
(1) 15 whole days if the warrant is issued solely to search for and seize specimens from a specific person for DNA analysis and comparison, including blood and saliva samples;

jclarkdawe
03-25-2014, 05:29 PM
Father and son. One killed a woman but it is unclear who because the DNA that was matched to the DNA on the evidence came from cigarette butts. Half matched the evidence but the other half of the butts matched a close family member. This forces my main characters to get a warrant for both the father and the son so they can arrest the right guy.

Okay, I'm very confused.

So half of the DNA evidence points to one individual, while the other half of the DNA evidence points to a familial level of identity, but not an individual. The DNA pointing to a familial level is useless for identification, just like a partial fingerprint. At this stage in the process, it is ignored and reliance is made on the DNA evidence pointing to an individual.

Now either the government has a comparison DNA sample or they don't. If the government does not have a comparison DNA sample, the DNA is useless in identifying the person. It can only be used to confirm a suspect. The government can obtain a search warrant to get a DNA sample for a suspect, but the DNA evidence is not going to be what leads them to a suspect.

A father and son have sufficiently different DNA for a positive ID of either. If the DNA is incomplete, leading to a positive ID of both, it's not going to be a major piece of evidence. The government has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a specific person committed a crime. If defense counsel can point to two different people that the DNA says is the responsible party, then there is a reasonable doubt as to which one is the criminal.

You may be able to write a convincing scene here, but the premise you seem to be presenting is not going to work with anyone knowledgeable of DNA evidence.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

apgambrell
03-25-2014, 06:22 PM
But both father and son drive the same truck, smoke the same cigarettes and the evidence of the crime was found in the truck they share. The truck is in the father's name but, since they both drive it, it's hard to tell who did the crime. Neither the father or son have DNA on record so I thought that would make things a little more complicated. Pretty much everything points to one of them but the police want DNA to make sure they get the right guy. Wouldn't the police have to take samples from both in order to narrow it down to one or the other?

cornflake
03-25-2014, 08:56 PM
But both father and son drive the same truck, smoke the same cigarettes and the evidence of the crime was found in the truck they share. The truck is in the father's name but, since they both drive it, it's hard to tell who did the crime. Neither the father or son have DNA on record so I thought that would make things a little more complicated. Pretty much everything points to one of them but the police want DNA to make sure they get the right guy. Wouldn't the police have to take samples from both in order to narrow it down to one or the other?

If the evidence is in the truck they both drive, how will DNA help?

apgambrell
03-25-2014, 09:02 PM
The DNA matches back to evidence that was hidden in the back of the truck in storage container, like it was being hidden. The DNA from the cigarettes only matches one of the two subject completely and only a partial match to the other DNA pulled from the cigarettes

cornflake
03-25-2014, 09:04 PM
The DNA matches back to evidence that was hidden in the back of the truck in storage container, like it was being hidden. The DNA from the cigarettes only matches one of the two subject completely and only a partial match to the other DNA pulled from the cigarettes

I'm so confused. What evidence is in the back of the truck? They both drive the truck. They both smoke. Thus I don't understand matching anything in the truck or any particular cigarette to either of them as meaningful.

This is sounding, atm, like when juries want fingerprint and DNA evidence in domestic violence cases.

apgambrell
03-25-2014, 09:13 PM
The evidence is back there because the father is trying to hide it because he killed one of his son's female friends and doesn't want him to find out he did it. I plan on highlighting it wasn't the best move for him to do it like that. But, since both cigarettes samples are different enough to cause question, my main characters want to be 100% sure so they don't arrest the wrong person. It will come out that it is a work truck that the father drives most of the time and the son uses it once in a while. He only thinks there's business files in the truck bed and says he's never really looked back there.

cornflake
03-25-2014, 10:16 PM
The evidence is back there because the father is trying to hide it because he killed one of his son's female friends and doesn't want him to find out he did it. I plan on highlighting it wasn't the best move for him to do it like that. But, since both cigarettes samples are different enough to cause question, my main characters want to be 100% sure so they don't arrest the wrong person. It will come out that it is a work truck that the father drives most of the time and the son uses it once in a while. He only thinks there's business files in the truck bed and says he's never really looked back there.

I still don't understand how DNA or cigarette samples will clear anything up.

The evidence is in a truck they both drive.

The cigarettes you apparently want to test are both smoked in a truck they both drive.

How will DNA (and what DNA on what?) clear anything up? Both of them have access to the truck.

apgambrell
03-25-2014, 10:20 PM
The cigarettes were found in the driveway of their house, not the truck.

cornflake
03-25-2014, 10:22 PM
The cigarettes were found in the driveway of their house, not the truck.

That's even worse.

Could you go step-by-step with the evidence to the truck to the cigarettes, because either I'm not at all understanding what's happening and how DNA is useful or you may have a plot hole.

apgambrell
03-25-2014, 10:28 PM
So should I ditch the whole thing and figure out another way to connect the father to the murder? Honestly, my main characters we're going to even get that far because the father was going to say something really incriminating as he tried to put the murder off on his son.

ironmikezero
03-25-2014, 10:51 PM
Warrants are issued upon probable cause. You may have enough for a DNA sample and/or a search of the truck and primary residence of record (dependent on the available details in your tale). With two possible suspects, and absent any evidence of conspiracy or cooperation between these two persons of interest, I would doubt you have sufficient probable cause for an arrest warrant. What evidence you do have is not definitively exclusive (assuming no definitive DNA comparison results are yet available), and could be considered circumstantial.

At this point the investigators would endeavor to conduct separate interviews of each suspect (assuming each is willing to answer questions after receiving the Miranda Warning). Statements made in the course of those interviews (think alibis) would have to be corroborated or refuted in subsequent investigation.

Any further developed evidence, witness statements, etc., would be combined with that previously known (to include any of a circumstantial nature) and most likely presented by the prosecutor to a Grand Jury. If the Grand Jury indicts (returns a true bill) the court can issue an arrest warrant for the alleged perpetrator so named in the indictment.

Keep in mind that an arrest warrant is a court order for law enforcement to seize and produce the body of the alleged offender before the court. In the course of the hunt, a search warrant is not needed for the subject's residence(s) of record; however, a search warrant, based on articulated probable cause, would be needed for a third party residence, private location, etc.

The prosecutor doesn't have to go through the Grand Jury. He/she can elect to proceed with a bill of information, an affidavit articulating the evidence in support of probable cause, and ask the court to issue an arrest warrant thereon.

In this case it is far more likely the prosecutor would make use of the Grand Jury. Remember, this sort of case can generate lots of media interest... and most prosecutors are elected officials.

cornflake
03-25-2014, 11:01 PM
So should I ditch the whole thing and figure out another way to connect the father to the murder? Honestly, my main characters we're going to even get that far because the father was going to say something really incriminating as he tried to put the murder off on his son.

I honestly don't know, because I'm not at all sure of how you've set it up.

If you'd like to lay out what happens, in like bullet points, or whatever -

- girl is garroted by the father.

- father puts x, y in truck and does z with the body... etc., etc.

- cops believe... cops find...

We can probably help you better. As it is, it's too vague to get a grip on whether it's workable or which way it'd be better off.

apgambrell
03-26-2014, 03:38 AM
Dad ambushes girl, drags her into the woods and assualts her. Girl gets away but dad runs her down with truck. He panics, grabs the sheet he raped her on, stuffs it in one of his file boxes in the back of said truck.

Girl is discovered and taken to the hospital but dies before she can say anything.


Some time later, truck gets stolen and the thief dies. Cops investigate and find sheet. Run the plates and find out the dead guy wasn't owner. Cops go to the father to tell him they found his truck but he denies it's his and kicks cops out the house. Cops think it is fishy and decide to take a deeper look.

Does this help?

jclarkdawe
03-26-2014, 04:23 AM
Yes, that helps.

First off it to remember that DNA has a significant run time.

First thing they'd do is fingerprint the entire vehicle. A locked storage compartment, if it has fingerprints inside, would likely indicate the owner of the truck.

Second is they'd go back and confirm ownership, through insurance records, motor vehicle registry, and warranty work done on the truck.

Third is they'd look for anyone who can place the guy with the truck.

But if he's denying ownership of the truck, getting a search warrant becomes very easy, and even if the police didn't get a search warrant and checked the DNA on the sheet, it would be very likely admissible in court. If he's a smoker, there would probably be other DNA sources to run it against.

The DNA would be the final nail in the guy's coffin, not the first. They'd work on him about lying about the truck, and more likely then not, he'd fold and confess.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

cornflake
03-26-2014, 06:45 AM
Dad ambushes girl, drags her into the woods and assualts her. Girl gets away but dad runs her down with truck. He panics, grabs the sheet he raped her on, stuffs it in one of his file boxes in the back of said truck.

Girl is discovered and taken to the hospital but dies before she can say anything.


Some time later, truck gets stolen and the thief dies. Cops investigate and find sheet. Run the plates and find out the dead guy wasn't owner. Cops go to the father to tell him they found his truck but he denies it's his and kicks cops out the house. Cops think it is fishy and decide to take a deeper look.

Does this help?

Thanks for explaining, this does help. I don't understand what you need the cigarettes for or how they'd help.

Presumably, there's DNA on her and/or the sheet that'd tie him to the rape.

apgambrell
03-26-2014, 06:53 AM
Yes but, until the truck was found and connected back to the father, they had no idea who that DNA belonged to, just the girl's.

cornflake
03-26-2014, 06:58 AM
Yes but, until the truck was found and connected back to the father, they had no idea who that DNA belonged to, just the girl's.

Right, I get that, but once they find the truck and connect it to him, where do the cigarettes come in, or the son?

apgambrell
03-26-2014, 06:54 PM
When my main characters went to inform the father the truck was found, the son answered the door and thought they were there because of the main murder that happened in the book (there's a fresh murder and a cold case in my story). One of my MC's interviewed him while the other went to ask the father about the truck. That was when the father got hostile and asked the police to leave. My MCs thought this was suspicious so the collected the cigarette butts.

When the butts were tested, they matched the DNA on the sheet from the male donor but the follow-up test on a second butt only partial matched the sample from the sheet. Again, since neither son or father had DNA on file, there was no way to tell who it belonged to. I'm going to add that sample 'A' also connected back to samples from the rape kit but sample 'B' was only a partial match. So, with no idea of what DNA belongs to who, I thought DNA samples would need to be taken from the individuals themselves to narrow it down.

apgambrell
03-28-2014, 05:05 AM
Am I on the right track now?

NeuroGlide
03-28-2014, 05:31 AM
Am I on the right track now?

By comparing the two different DNA profiles, they could tell they were father and son (there would be a 50% match between them). I want to say they could tell which was the father, but I'm currently brainlocking on how (fragging allergy meds).

apgambrell
03-28-2014, 06:38 PM
I pulled the son out of the equation completely. I decided it would just be better not to have him involved any more than being the female victim's friend. It's more straightforward now, the evidence pointing to only the father.

With his denial that the truck isn't his (when all the paperwork say it is), the matches to the sheet, the rape kit and the cigarette butts should all be enough to cast enough reasonable doubt for the issuance of a warrant for his DNA. Am I correct in thinking this or will my MCs need more than this for a warrant?

apgambrell
03-29-2014, 06:15 PM
Can I get an answer to the last bit I posted above this reply please?

NeuroGlide
03-30-2014, 02:30 AM
Can I get an answer to the last bit I posted above this reply please?

It depends, this time on the judge. Most judges probably would issue a warrant based on this evidence, but not all. Since the truck was stolen, the evidence could have been planted. The police might try the "to eliminate you as a suspect" angle, but he shoulldn't be dumb enough to fall for it. But if they can get the son's DNA, they can prove familiar relationship, and that will get a warrant. And they can pull DNA off of all sorts of things.

apgambrell
03-30-2014, 03:04 AM
Thank you!

So this part sounds okay?

“ While I was on the phone, I managed to secure a search warrant for Derek's house, “ Jant reached over and opened the glove box. “ Which happens to include collecting DNA from his father. "

I reached for the folded warrant and opened it up. I read it, finding that it was for what Jant said it was for and I looked at him. " We have enough evidence for this? "

Jant nodded, " The judge thinks so. The sheet was found in his father's work truck. The cigarettes he smokes matched that sheet. "

" But he denied it was his, " I recalled how Derek's father had kicked us out of the house and it just didn't sit right with us.

" It obviously was so there we have something suspicious, " Jant said. “ Once I explained it to the judge, he agreed to issue the warrant. “

" Great, “ I said. " So we'll take care of this first? “

“ Yes, “ Jant said. He smiled, “ Maybe closing another case will soften the chief's bite a bit. “

“ I hope so, “ I said.

NeuroGlide
03-30-2014, 03:14 AM
It will work.

Edit: Another option they could try, if the judge is being obstinate, is catching the father in a lie. They can arrest him for Obstruction of Justice and get his DNA then.