Does anyone have an example of an search warrant affidavit and warrant you use to get the contents of text messages from the cell phone company they would be willing to share with me? If so, please email me one at email@example.com.
Can't believe it's taken us this long to need one of these. And, as always, the police need it immediately, before the cell provider can no longer retrieve the info.
We usually use a grand jury subpoena. What carrier?
Grand Jury subpoena will not cut it for Text Messages, but most carriers will preserve the messages if you send a written request, while you seek a warrant or court order under CCP 18.21. Some will demand $'s to preserve the messages, but they have always returned the funds to our office once we sent them the order. I'll try to pull some examples to send you.
Could you send us copies of your samples? Our investigator is getting together information that will lead to us having to do a warrant for text messages in a murder case here in Llano County. I would rather not reinvent the wheel. You can e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to (325) 247-5274. Thanks in advance.
You may know this already, but I just saw the post. Sprint is about the only carrier that keeps the content of text messages. For them, that's about 10-14 days. A simple letter asking them to preserve, no fancy form, will do. But give them a date to start with. Most will only have a record that a message was sent.
You really need the actual phone that sent and received the messages. There is a possiblity that the content can be forensically retrieved from the phone itself even if the messages were delted. It just depends on the type of phone and what the user does with messages.
Just ask the telephone carrier what they preserve so you know exactly what you have. If it's just the record (like a call record), a GJ subpoena will get it and you need to be working on a search warrant for the actual phones. Hopefully, one of your local PD's have the forensic equipment to help you. Once you seize a phone, try to get it analyzed quickly or follow specific procedures to protect the data on it.....remember the bad guys can delete stuff remotely these days so time and procedure is really important!!
Drop an email if you need something further!
We're working with Verizon on this one and they tell us that they keep messages for only 5 days. Thanks to the quick work of our PD and the great warrant form from John Greenwood, we obtained a warrant and had it served on friday after having provided Verizon with a letter requesting they hold on the the texts.
Melissa, you mentioned certain forensic equipment that would be useful in obtaining info from a seized phone. We are generally fortunate if we can get a phone to turn on, much less have any special forensic equipment in our jurisdiction. I think we have utilized someone with Abilene PD to dig up some child porn on a phone we seized with a warrant in the past. What equipment are you referring to? Sounds like that might be a good investment for our PD or SO.
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