Ill. county announces new search warrant policy after Anjanette Young raid
The policy will require law enforcement to follow up on the outcome of the search warrant, including whether it was signed by a judge and carried out by LE
By Madeline Buckley
COOK COUNTY, Ill. — In the midst of a number of high-profile botched police raids, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office is requiring officers who ask a prosecutor to review search warrants for probable cause to report back on the outcome, a change meant to increase accountability for officers executing searches, the office announced Friday.
The office is making the policy change because the “intrusion that search warrants legally authorize justifies greater disclosure and transparency,” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in a news release.
The revision comes as executions of search warrants by police officers have fallen under increasing scrutiny, particularly in the wake of the raid on the home of Anjanette Young in 2019. Chicago police officers wrongly raided Young’s residence and handcuffed her while she was undressed.
The prosecutor’s office said in the statement that it sought to change search warrant policy “in response to evidence of a search warrant location not being fully vetted, resulting in the wrong location being raided.”
Currently, police officers can ask an assistant state’s attorney to review a search warrant request and approve it if it contains sufficient probable cause. It would then go to a judge who would decide whether to sign off on it.
Under the new policy, police who sought prosecutor review would be required to follow up and disclose whether the warrant was authorized by a judge, whether it was carried out and whether any items were seized or arrested were made, the release said.
Officers who do not comply within 45 days of a prosecutor approving the warrant will not be eligible to submit future warrant requests for review until they follow up on the previous warrant.
“Going forward to receive our signoff, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office will require law enforcement to submit to increased checks of the information provided to request search warrants and then disclose the outcome of the warrant,” Foxx said in the release. “The new process will help us better understand if the evidence obtained justified using a search warrant.”
The prosecutor’s office has also created a new digital database that will track warrant requests through to their completion. The data will allow the office to review the “reliability of the information” provided by officers when requesting a search warrant, including the accuracy of locations, the release said.
The new guidance goes into effect on Dec. 16.
The Chicago Police Department also agreed earlier this year to allow the ongoing consent decree to govern search warrants, a change reform advocates had been asking for.