Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Statement of Facts

On February 10, 2007 at 5:53 a.m., the Virginia Beach Police Department executed a search warrant at the home of defendants Kerekes and Cuadra at 1028 Stratem Court, Virginia Beach, VA 23451. The warrant was obtained under seal on February 9, 2007. The warrant, affidavit of supporting probable cause, and the accompanying inventory and return were certified to the court on February 12, 2007. See Sealing Order. Warrant and Inventory. attached collectively hereto as "Exhibit 1."

The Search Warrant affiant is Sean Coerse of the Virginia Beach Police Department. However, Officer Coerse swears in his warrant that he was advised of the facts set forth in the affidavit of probable cause supporting the warrant by an informer. Officer Coerse identifies this informer in section 6 of the warrant and corresponding section 6 of the affidavit as "Cpl. Leo D. Hannon, Jr , Pennsylvania State Police" and continues on to list Cpl. Hannon’s credentials. Warrant and afidavit Exhibit 1 at section 6.

In fact, Corporal Hannon indicates in a police report he prepared relative to the search warrant at issue that he, along with Pennsylvania State Police Troopers Polishan, Brian Murphy, Michael Gownley, Dale Young, Luzerne County Detective Daniel Yursha and Dallas Township Police Department Sergeant Douglas Higgins traveled to Virginia Beach, VA on February 9, 2007 and assisted in the preparation of the warrant. Hannon Police Report attached hereto as “Exhibit 2.” The warrant indicates that the offense in relation to which the search is to be made is “Murder in violation of Virginia State Code 18.2-32 Warrant and Affidavit Exhibit 1 at section 1.

To support the seizure of evidence, alleged probable cause is outlined in section 4 of the warrant. The probable cause is outlined in six arid one-half pages of the document. in those pages, two paragraphs mention “Joseph Kerekes” and the context is as a business associate of defendant Harlow Cuadra in the operation of “an illegal escort service” and in the production of “gay pornography” and “modeling.” Affidavit Exhibit 1 at section 4.

The search warrant authorizes seizure of the items enumerated in section 3 of the warrant. To summarize, the warrant authorizes seizure of the following five categories of items only: (1) actual computers and hardware, computer software and all information stored on computers or used to access information through computers; (2) blood, fiber, trace or other physical evidence; (3) knives or cutting instruments; (4) credit/debit cards, cash, financial data and receipts; and (5) all documents relating to the victim and the defendant’s residence. Affidavit Exhibit 1 at section 3.

Despite the clear categories authorized above, the inventory return shows that, inter alia, luggage, firearms, ammunition, clothing, cameras, videotapes, camcorders, battery packs, and insulation were seized. Inventory Exhibit 1. These items are not encompassed by the warrant nor has their seizure been authorized. Further, these items are not per se illegal or contraband.