Section 260.010 Issuance of Administrative Warrants Relating To Enforcement of City Code Provisions — When Issued — Procedures.
[Ord. No. 2915 §I, 12-10-2009]
Administrative Warrant Defined — Who May Issue, Execute.
An administrative warrant is a written order of the Municipal Judge permitting the entry of City officials on or into private property to enforce the City's housing, zoning, health and safety regulations when government entry on or into such private property is otherwise authorized by Missouri law. A warrant may issue only in conformance with this Section and only for the enforcement of the City's housing, zoning, health and safety regulations specifically:
To abate such physical conditions on private property constituting a public nuisance or otherwise in violation of a specified regulation as provided herein,
To inspect private property to determine or prove the existence of physical conditions in violation of such a specified regulation, and
To seize, photograph, copy or record evidence of the violation of such a specified regulation.
The Municipal Judge having original and exclusive jurisdiction to determine violations against the ordinances of the municipality may issue an administrative warrant when:
The property to be entered is located within the City; and
The City establishes probable cause to determine that a public nuisance or other violation of a specified regulation as provided herein may exist.
Any such warrant shall be directed to the Chief of Police or any other Police Officer of the City and shall be executed by the Chief of Police or said Police Officer, in conjunction with the appropriate Code Enforcement Officer or other appropriate official, within the City limits and not elsewhere.
Who May Apply For Warrant — Contents Of Application.
Any Code Enforcement Officer, Police Officer or Attorney of the City may make application to the Municipal Judge for the issuance of an administrative warrant.
The application shall:
Be in writing;
State the time and date of the making of the application;
Identify the property to be entered, inspected or seized in sufficient detail and particularity that the officer executing the warrant can readily ascertain it;
State that the owner or occupant of the property:
Has been requested by the City to allow such action and has refused to allow such action, or
Is not available, after reasonable investigation and effort, to consent to such entry or inspection, and in such case the application shall include details of the City's investigation and effort to request such consent;
State facts sufficient to show probable cause for the issuance of a warrant to enter the private property, including the specification of the housing, zoning, health or safety regulation sought to be enforced;
Be verified by the oath or affirmation of the applicant; and
Be signed by the applicant and filed in the Municipal Court.
The application may be supplemented by a written affidavit verified by oath or affirmation. Such affidavit shall be considered in determining whether there is probable cause for the issuance of a warrant and in filling out any deficiencies in the description of the property or place to be entered. Oral testimony shall not be considered. The application may be submitted by facsimile or other electronic means.
Hearing And Procedure — Contents Of Warrant — Execution And Return.
Hearing and procedure.
The Municipal Judge shall determine whether probable cause exists to enter the private property for the purposes noted herein.
In doing so the Municipal Judge shall determine whether the action to be taken by the City is reasonable in light of the facts stated. The Municipal Judge shall consider the goals of the ordinance or Code Section sought to be enforced and such other factors as may be appropriate including, but not limited to, the known or suspected violation of any relevant City ordinance or Code Section, the passage of time since the property's last inspection, and the law, Statute or ordinance authorizing government entry onto private property. The standard for issuing a warrant need not be limited to actual knowledge of an existing violation of a City ordinance or Code Section.
If it appears from the application and any supporting affidavit that there is probable cause to enter the private property for the enforcement of the City's housing, zoning, health and safety regulations, a warrant shall immediately be issued.
The warrant shall issue in the form of an original and two (2) copies, and the application, any supporting affidavit and one (1) copy of the warrant as issued shall be retained in the records of the Municipal Court.
Contents of warrant. The warrant shall:
Be in writing and in the name of the City;
Be directed to any Police Officer in the City;
State the time and date the warrant was issued;
Identify the property to be entered in sufficient detail and particularity that the officer executing the warrant can readily ascertain it;
Command that the described property be entered for one (1) or more specified enforcement purposes as provided herein, identify the regulation sought to be enforced, and direct that any evidence of any suspected property violations be seized, recorded or photographed, and a description of such property be returned, within ten (10) days after filing of the application, to the Clerk of the Municipal Court, to be dealt with according to law;
Be signed by the judge, with his title of office indicated.
Execution and return.
A warrant issued under this Chapter shall be executed only by a City Police Officer, provided however, that one (1) or more designated City Officials may accompany the officer, and the warrant shall be executed in the following manner:
The warrant may be issued by facsimile or other electronic means.
The warrant shall be executed by conducting the private property entry as commanded and shall be executed as soon as practicable and in a reasonable manner.
The officer shall give the owner or occupant of the property entered a copy of the warrant.
If any property is seized incident to the entry, the officer shall give the person from whose possession it was taken, if the person is present, an itemized receipt for the property taken. If no such person is present, or if no such person is ascertainable, the officer shall leave the receipt at the site of the entry in a conspicuous place. A copy of the itemized receipt of any property taken shall be delivered to an attorney for the City within two (2) working days of the execution of the warrant. The disposition of property seized pursuant to a warrant under this Section shall be in accordance with an applicable City ordinance or Code Section, but in the absence of the same, then with Section 542.301, RSMo.
The officer may summon as many persons as he deems necessary to assist him in executing the warrant.
An officer executing an invalid warrant, the invalidity of which is not apparent on its face, may use such force as he would be justified in using if the warrant were valid.
A warrant shall expire if it is not executed and the required return made within ten (10) days after the date of the making of the application.
After execution of the warrant, the warrant, with a return thereon signed by the officer executing the warrant, shall be delivered to the Municipal Court in the following manner:
The return shall show the date and manner of execution and the name of the possessor and of the owner, when not the same person, if known, of the property entered.
The return shall be accompanied by any photographs, copies or recordings made and by any property seized, along with a copy of the itemized receipt of such property required by this Section; provided however, that seized property may be disposed of as provided herein, and in such a case a description of the property seized shall accompany the return.
The Court Clerk, upon request, shall deliver a copy of the return to the possessor and the owner, when not the same person, of the property entered or seized.
Warrant Invalid, When. A warrant shall be deemed invalid:
If it was not issued by the Municipal Judge;
If it was issued without a written application having been filed and verified;
If it was issued without sufficient probable cause in light of the goals of the ordinance to be enforced and such other factors as provided in Subsection (C)(1)(b) hereof;
If it was not issued with respect to property in the City;
If it does not describe the property or places to be entered, inspected or seized with sufficient certainty;
If it is not signed by the judge who issued it; or
If it was not executed and the required return made within ten (10) days after the date of the making of the application.