Legal Question in Criminal Law in Iowa

In July, I was at the farm where I keep my sons animals, and a search warrant was executed by a local police department, and the Sheriff's Department. The residence is outside of city limits, yet was led by the Police Department; the search warrant was specific to the outbuildings and barns on the property, but is had the wrong person listed as the one who resides there. They confiscated my van, and are still holding it. When I called them this week, they told me they were waiting for test results to get back, and then they would be filing formal charges. I asked for inventory lists of the search warrant and for the van, but they said they didn't have copies to give me. Here are a few questions I have about this particular incident:

1. How can a police department apply for and be awarded a search warrant for a location that is outside of their jurisdiction? Wouldn't the Sheriff's Dept. have to be the ones in charge of it, not the police?

2. The information on the search warrant was incorrect as far as who legally resides there; is there any technicality on that to possibly have it thrown out because of incorrect information?

3. They have held my van for almost 90 days now; I thought after 30 days, and if no charges are filed, they have to give the van back; they say that isn't the law. Can you tell me what the laws are regarding this? I don't see how they can hold it for almost 3 months just because they are waiting to charge me with something!

Any additional information related to the legalities of these issues is appreciated. Thanks for your time!!

Asked on 9/28/13, 7:35 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Luedeman solo practitioner

Your vehicle was seized in a search of someone else's property. You do not therefore have any standing to challenge the warrant and whether it had the right or wrong name. Simply stated you do not have a dog in this fight unless there is something you're not saying. I think you need to hire a lawyer to get your van back or find out why they're keeping it. I see no issue with a city police department seeking a search warrant for a residence outside city limits with the sheriff assisting-it happens all the time.

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Answered on 9/28/13, 9:13 am

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