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State ex. rel. Brown v. Dietrick
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
444 S.E.2d 47 (1994)
In a habeas corpus proceeding, Brown (plaintiff) argued that the search warrant obtained in his case was invalid because it was not issued by a neutral and detached magistrate. Magistrate Gail Boober was married to the chief of police, and her husband’s sergeant requested the warrant. When Magistrate Boober signed the search warrant, she was acting as an on-call magistrate for emergency matters outside of normal court hours. The sergeant who requested the warrant had no contact with Magistrate Boober except through the magistrate system. Magistrate Boober’s husband did not appear anywhere in the affidavit supporting the warrant, and Magistrate Boober did not discuss her husband with the sergeant. The lower court suppressed the evidence seized pursuant to the search warrant, finding that Magistrate Boober had an interest in the proceeding due to her marriage and that her failure to disqualify (or recuse) herself violated portions of the Judicial Code of Ethics. The matter was appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Miller, J.)
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