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July 27, 2013

Rift widens between New Albany police chief, Floyd County prosecutor

In letter, New Albany police Chief Sherri Knight changes search warrant process

(Continued)

FLOYD COUNTY —

Powell, a former prosecutor in Green County, said the NAPD is within the law to bypass a prosecutor’s review, but added it is not a good practice.

“I was an elected prosecutor for 20 years and that was my practice. I wanted every search warrant that was involved in my community to have us looking at it, and that’s our role, to assist law enforcement. You are there to assist them, not to impede them and to make sure the work is done correctly. I can’t expect a police officer to understand the Fourth Amendment. That is our job, not their job.”

 

RESPONDING TO THE SCENE

In the second paragraph of the letter drafted by Knight, she states that in the event of a major crime, Henderson’s office will be contacted by NAPD, “... upon completion of the investigation, or when enough probable cause has been established for an arrest warrant, at which time the proper paperwork will also be submitted.”

Without an interview with Knight or Henderson, it remains undetermined exactly how, or if, Floyd County prosecutors will respond to NAPD crime scenes.

While Mosley, the Jeffersonville attorney, has more than a quarter of a century arguing litigation, he said Knight’s current stance toward the prosecutor’s office is something he has never witnessed.

“I have never heard of that, a police department telling the prosecutor they are not going to be involved in the investigation until the conclusion,” Mosley said. “I can think of no good reason for that.”

While Mosley often defends clients facing charges issued by a prosecutor’s office, he said it is the state which can suffer from the rocky relationship.

“Police officers are maybe trained in some aspects of the law, but they are not lawyers, or up to date with constitutional standards,” he said. “In my experience, search warrants [that are later] suppressed are those that police officers got on their own.”

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