View the complete text of Act 44

ACT NO. 44

Search Warrants; Fax

This act revises Rule 41 of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure to authorize a judge to issue a search warrant by fax. The act makes it clear that search warrants by fax are not intended to be a replacement for the preferred current procedure for issuing warrants. It is an alternative method to be used only under the following limited circumstances:

(1) when a judge is not reasonably available;

(2) when an attorney for the state has reviewed and authorized the search warrant application and supporting affidavit;

(3) when the warrant could not have been applied for when a judge was reasonably available; and

(4) when there is reasonable cause for issuance of the warrant before the time when the judge becomes reasonably available.

As with an application for a search warrant using the normal procedure, the judge may decline to consider the application by fax. If the judge does issue a search warrant by fax, the judge must state in the warrant why the warrant was issued by fax rather than by the normal method.

The court administrator and the executive director of the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council are required to report to the Senate and House Committees on Judiciary next January on the implementation of the bill.

The amendments in the act will sunset on December 31, 2000.

Effective Date: July 1, 1997