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Are the Warrant Documents Released in the Atlanta Case Forgeries?:
[N.B. I have rewritten this post after the updates became more important than the original.] Radley Balko links to the warrant and affidavit in the recent Atlanta shooting case, and then links to a story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution suggesting, remarkably, that the warrant documents released by the officials in Atlanta may be a forgery:
  The informant, who said he worked with Atlanta police for four years, also told WAGA-TV that he hadn't been to 933 Neal Street. His identity hidden, he told the TV station that one of the drug officers called him soon after the shooting with instructions.
  Quoting the police officers, the informant told Fox 5 News: " 'This is what you need to do. You need to cover our (rear). ... It's all on you man. ... You need to tell them about this Sam dude.' "

  Pennington said investigators were trying to determine the truth. "I don't know if he went in or not," he said.
  . . . .
  Also, even though the affidavit said that the house was outfitted with surveillance cameras, Pennington said the informant had told internal affairs investigators that police officers had asked him to lie about the cameras. Pennington could not confirm whether the cameras existed.
  To add to that, commenter PersonFromPorlock points out that all four of the Judge's signatures on the warrant and affidavit appear — at least at first blush — to be identical. For that matter, the signatures of the affiant appear to be identical, too. Hmm. It looks that way to me, at least — do readers agree? Perhaps it's just a coincidence — the judge just always signed his/her signature the same way, or the photocopy isn't good enough to reveal the differences. But the signatures look pretty much identical, and at least in my experience I haven't heard of a judge or affiant (or both) using a signature stamp for a warrant. I don't want to go all Memogate here, but I wonder if the signatures might help reveal the document as a forgery? I suspect we'll know soon enough.

  UPDATE: Radley has more on the identical signatures here. A few commenters indicate that electronic signatures are used in at least some jurisdictions; if Fulton County is one of these jurisdictions, then obviously that would explain the signature question innocently enough. It wouldn't explain the AJC story, though.

  ANOTHER UPDATE: Radley confirms that in Atlanta, judges sign warrants with an electronic signature.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Federal Subsidies to State and Local Governments and the Militarization of Police:
  2. Are the Warrant Documents Released in the Atlanta Case Forgeries?:
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