blanket search warrant

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Blanket search warrant is a broad authorization from a judge that allows the police to search multiple areas for evidence without specifying exactly what they are looking for and seize everything found.

The Fourth Amendment provides that “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” In Stanford v. Texas the Supreme Court has states that this constitutional requirement protects against “the use of general warrants as instruments of oppression. Therefore, blanket search warrants are unconstitutional, and all evidence obtained under the blanket warrant must be excluded from the trial of the defendant.

[Last updated in May of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]