In my 57 years of practice, I have no criminal law experience except for a few drunk driving cases early in my career. The Michigan Search Warrant Statute came to my attention when the Oakland County Prosecutor presented the April 29, 2011 orders in both my Michigan State Police and Oakland County Prosecutor FOIA lawsuits. The Order stated basically that no one could have access to the Busch search warrant file in the 48th District Court for the search of the former Christopher Busch residence on October 28, 2008.
The last sentence of Section 9 of the Michigan Search Warrant Statute (Act 189 of 1966) specifically provides that the suppression orders authorized by the statute do not apply in FOIA cases:
(9) On the fifty-sixth day following the issuance of a search warrant, the search warrant affidavit contained in any court file or court record retention system is public information unless, before the fifty-sixth day after the search warrant is issued, a peace officer or prosecuting attorney obtains a suppression order from a judge or district court magistrate upon a showing under oath that suppression of the affidavit is necessary to protect an ongoing investigation or the privacy or safety of a victim or witness. The suppression order may be obtained ex parte in the same manner that the search warrant was issued. An initial suppression order issued under this subsection expires on the fifty-sixth day after the order is issued. A second or subsequent suppression order may be obtained in the same manner as the initial suppression order and shall expire on a date specified in the order. This subsection and subsection (8) do not affect a person’s right to obtain a copy of a search warrant affidavit from the prosecuting attorney or law enforcement agency under the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246. MCL 780.651 (9)
SECTION 9 SPECIFICALLY STATES IT DOES NOT APPLY TO MY FOIA CASES AND BOTH THE OAKLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR AND THE 48TH DISTRICT COURT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REFUSED TO DISCUSS THIS ASPECT OF MY CASE WITH ME.
In addition, Section 9 of the Michigan Search Warrant Statue also contains language suppressing the access to Search Warrant and Search Warrant Affidavits. All of the Search Warrant information is suppressed for 56 days. If the prosecutor wants to extend it beyond 56 days it must file a renewal order within the previous 56 day period. If no 56 day renewal order is entered the information is available to the public on the 57th day. The Statute does not contain any language allowing any public body to file subsequent suppression orders after the first 56 day period expires. I will discuss this further in chapter 11.by