An Act Concerning Administrative Search Warrants
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2014) (a) Upon complaint on oath or affirmation by any two duly authorized officials of the State of Connecticut or any town, city, borough or district therein, to any judge of the Superior Court or judge trial referee, that such persons have reasonable legislative authority to conduct a search or inspection of private property, the judge to whom an application is made shall issue an administrative search warrant upon finding that the requirements of this subsection have been met, and that the proposed activities are a reasonable intrusion into such private property: (1) The persons seeking the warrant must swear or affirm that they are unable to gain access to the property to conduct a search or inspection that they are officially authorized or required by law to conduct, despite a prior reasonable attempt to gain access by consent of the owner, occupant or person in charge of the property, unless seeking prior consent is unjustified under the circumstances; (2) the property to be searched or inspected is to be searched or inspected as part of a legally authorized inspection program which naturally includes that property, or there is probable cause to believe that there exists a condition, object, activity or circumstance which presents a serious hazard to persons or property, or which violates state or local law, and which legally justifies such a search or inspection of that property; (3) it must describe, either directly or by reference, the property where the search or inspection is to occur and be accurate enough in description so that any official who executes the warrant and the owner, occupant of person in charge of the property can reasonably determine from it what property the warrant authorizes a search or inspection of; and (4) it must indicate the conditions, objects, activities or circumstances which the search or inspection is intended to view or reveal.
(b) If the judge or judge trial referee is satisfied that grounds for the application exist or that there is probable cause to believe that they exist, the judge or judge trial referee shall issue an administrative search warrant identifying the property and naming or describing the areas to be searched or inspected. The administrative search warrant shall be directed to any police officer of a regularly organized police department or any state police officer, to an inspector in the Division of Criminal Justice or to a conservation officer, special conservation officer or patrolman acting pursuant to section 26-6 for service and return. The warrant shall state the date and time of its issuance and the grounds or probable cause for its issuance and shall command any proper official authorized by the administrative search warrant to search within a reasonable time the property named or described. The inadvertent failure of the issuing judge or judge trial referee to state on the warrant the time of its issuance shall not in and of itself invalidate the warrant.
(c) The applicants for the search warrant shall file the application for the warrant and all affidavits upon which the warrant is based with the clerk of the court for the geographical area within which the property is located subsequent to the execution, and present it with the return of the warrant. The warrant shall be executed within ten days and returned with reasonable promptness consistent with due process of law and shall be accompanied by a written report from the officials who conducted the search or inspection of the conditions, objects, activities or circumstances which were viewed or revealed. If present upon execution, a copy of such warrant shall be given to the owner, occupant or person in charge of the property named or described therein. If not present upon execution, within forty-eight hours of such search, a copy of the application for the warrant and a copy of all affidavits upon which the warrant is based shall be given to such owner, occupant or person in charge of the property. If the owner, occupant or person in charge of the property is not present on the property at the time of the search or inspection and reasonable efforts to locate such persons have been made and have failed, the warrant or a copy thereof may be affixed to the property and shall have the same effect as if served personally upon the owner, occupant or person in charge of the property. The judge or judge trial referee may, by order, dispense with the requirement of giving a copy of the affidavits to such owner, occupant or person at such time if the applicant for the warrant files a detailed affidavit with the judge or judge trial referee which demonstrates to the judge or judge trial referee that (1) the personal safety of a confidential informant would be jeopardized by the giving of a copy of the affidavits at such time, or (2) the search is part of a continuing investigation which would be adversely affected by the giving of a copy of the affidavits at such time. If the judge or judge trial referee dispenses with the requirement of giving a copy of the affidavits at such time, such order shall not affect the right of such owner, occupant or person in charge of the property to obtain such copy at any subsequent time. No such order shall limit the disclosure of such affidavits to the attorney for a person arrested in connection with or subsequent to the execution of a search warrant unless, upon motion of the prosecuting authority within two weeks of such person's arraignment, the court finds that the state's interest in continuing nondisclosure substantially outweighs the defendant's right to disclosure.
(d) Any order dispensing with the requirement of giving a copy of the warrant application and accompanying affidavits to such owner, occupant or person within forty-eight hours shall be for a specific period of time, not to exceed two weeks beyond the date the warrant is executed. Within that time period the prosecuting authority may seek an extension of such period. Upon the execution and return of the warrant, affidavits which have been the subject of such an order shall remain in the custody of the clerk's office in a secure location apart from the remainder of the court file.
(e) Any person who forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates or interferes with any person authorized to serve or execute search warrants or to make searches and inspections while engaged in the performance of his duties with regard thereto or on account of the performance of such duties, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or both; and any person who in committing any violation of this section uses any deadly or dangerous weapon shall be fined not more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than ten years or both.
(f) A person aggrieved by search or inspection may move the court which has jurisdiction of such person's case or, if such jurisdiction has not yet been invoked, then the court which issued the warrant, or the court in which such person's case is pending, to suppress for use as evidence anything so obtained on the ground that: (1) The property was searched or inspected without a warrant, or (2) the warrant is insufficient on its face, or (3) the property searched or inspected is not that described in the warrant, or (4) there was not probable cause for believing the existence of the grounds on which the warrant was issued, or (5) the warrant was illegally executed. In no case may the judge or judge trial referee who signed the warrant preside at the hearing on the motion.
(g) The motion shall be made before trial or hearing unless opportunity therefor did not exist or the defendant was not aware of the grounds for the motion, but the court in its discretion may entertain the motion at the trial or hearing.
(h) The court shall receive evidence on any issue of fact necessary to the decision of the motion. If the motion is granted, the evidence obtained as a result of the search or inspection shall be inadmissible as evidence at any civil, criminal or administrative proceeding or trial; but this shall not prevent any such facts or evidence to be so used when the warrant issued is not constitutionally required in those circumstances.
Statement of Purpose:
To establish a procedure for the issuance of administrative search warrants to enable state and local building and safety code officials to conduct the inspections required by existing law.
[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]