Search & Seizure Law

Many cases are won or lost based upon whether the prosecution was able to introduce into evidence items seized from the defendant. The evidence might consist of drugs found in a car; a weapon found under a bed; a bloodstain found on a bathroom sink; a fingerprint found on a knife; or DNA collected from underneath a suspect’s fingernails.

As a young prosecutor, Morley Swingle quickly learned that a top-notch prosecutor must know the law of evidence backwards and forwards, so that when a police officer calls during the middle of the night asking whether he needs a search warrant before seizing a particular piece of evidence, the prosecutor will give the right answer. By giving wrong advice during the investigative stage, the prosecutor can ruin a case before it is even filed.

With that in mind, Swingle began a Search & Seizure Law outline while he was still an assistant prosecutor. At first, it was merely for his own use. Later, it grew into a manual he used to train law enforcement officers. Finally, it became a 200-page book distributed at training sessions to virtually every prosecutor and trial judge in Missouri, as well as to officers from scores of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors from around the country.

To read the latest edition of Morley Swingle’s Search & Seizure Law manual free of charge, click here.

Swingle has taught Search & Seizure Law at training sessions for the Missouri Prosecuting Attorneys Association, the National District Attorneys Association, the Missouri Highway Patrol, the Missouri Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the Missouri Police Chiefs Association, the Missouri Sheriff’s Association, the Southeast Missouri State University Law Enforcement Academy, the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, the Missouri K-9 Officers Association, and numerous other law enforcement agencies.

Swingle has also published several law journal articles dealing with various aspects of Search and Seizure Law. The articles include:

(1) H. M. Swingle, “Blood Draws & Drunk Drivers in Colorado,” ___ Colo. Law. ___ (2014) (accepted for publication in the February issue).
(2) H. M. Swingle & Lane P. Thomasson, “Beam Me Up: Upgrading Search Warrants With Technology,” 69 J. Mo. Bar 16 (2013).
(3) H. M. Swingle, “Cell Phone Searches Incident to Arrest in Wyoming,” 35 Wyoming Lawyer 24 (2012).
(4) H. M. Swingle, “Smartphone Searches Incident to Arrest,” 68 J. Mo. Bar 36 (2012).
(5) H.M. Swingle, “Drug Recognition Experts in Missouri,” 66 J. Mo. Bar 250 (2010).
(6) H.M. Swingle & K. M. Zoellner, “Knock and Talk Consent Searches: If Called By a Panther, Don’t Anther,” 55 J. Mo. Bar 25 (1999).
(7) H.M. Swingle, “Criminal Investigative Subpoenas: How to Get Them, How to Fight Them,” 54 J. Mo. Bar 15 (1998).
(8) H.M. Swingle, “Motions to Seal Search Warrant Files: How, When and Why the Prosecutor Should Seek Closure of a Court’s File,” The Missouri Prosecutor, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan. 1994).

Swingle has litigated search and seizure law issues at the trial and appellate level. He has often said it is his favorite area of the law. He is available to teach the subject for police agencies, prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers. To book him for a training session, call ParkerLawyers at (303) 841-9525.

As for you, if law enforcement officers searched your car or your home or seized any physical objects they intend to use against you at trial, you probably have a search and seizure law issue in your case. A proper analysis of that one issue could be crucial to the outcome of your case. Feel free to contact ParkerLawyers for a consultation. (303) 841-9525.