Monday, June 10, 2013

Criminal Procedure 101: Tools Used to Investigate the Federal Crime

There are a number of tools that a federal agency and a United States Attorney's Office can use to investigate whether a federal crime has occurred.   One of the most commonly known is a search warrant.  Another is a subpoena duces tecum to obtain documents.  Some techniques are used in secret such as wire and phone tapes.  Informants can also provide valuable information to an investigation.  Witnesses can also be subpoenaed to give testimony before a grand jury.  Ex parte (without the other parties knowledge) court orders can be used to obtained tax returns in some cases under some circumstances.  In some cases cell phone records, emails, and other types of electronic communication can be obtained.  Each serves a different purposes and have a different standard that must be met in order to obtain the information.  The standard and purpose of each is beyond the scope of this blog entry.  Suffice it to say that federal agents and federal prosecutors have a wide range of tools to use to the information they need to prosecute cases.

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