STATE v. EDWARD JEVARJIAN, SC 18728
Judicial District of New Haven
Criminal; Search and Seizure; Whether Search of Defendant's House and Garage was Conducted Prior to Issuance of Search Warrant; Whether Notation of Time on Warrant was Scrivener's Error and, if so, Whether Error Invalidated Warrant. On May 17, 2007, the police obtained a warrant to search the residence of the defendant, which they executed before 10:00 p.m. the same day. The search resulted in the seizure of marijuana from Jevarjian's home and garage. After being charged with crimes that included possession of marijuana with intent to sell, Jevarjian moved to suppress the seized evidence, claiming that the search was unconstitutional because it was commenced prior to the time the judge signed the search warrant. In support of his claim, Jevarjian claimed that the judge noted the time as 10:51 p.m. when he signed each page of the search warrant. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court determined that the time noted by the judge on the search warrant was a scrivener's error and that the search had commenced after the judge signed the warrant. Accordingly, the court denied the motion to suppress. Subsequently, the defendant entered a plea of nolo contendere conditioned on his right to appeal from the court's denial of his motion to suppress. On appeal to the Appellate Court (124 Conn. App. 331), the court found that there was substantial evidence to support the trial court's finding that the search had taken place after the judge signed the warrant and that the 10:51 p.m. notation was a scrivener's error. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court could not have reasonably concluded that the time notation was a scrivener’s error because, in order to do so, it had to rely on the improper admission of parol evidence to contradict the warrant. The Appellate Court also rejected the defendant’s contention that the judge’s notation of time, if incorrect, invalidated the warrant because it was not properly executed pursuant to General Statutes § 54-33a. Observing that § 54-33a, which provides that a warrant "shall state the date and time of its issuance," was amended in 2000 to specify that the failure to include the time of issuance does not invalidate a warrant, the court concluded that the search warrant logically could not have been invalidated when the time noted on the warrant proved to be a scrivener's error. Accordingly, the Appellate Court concluded that the trial court properly denied the motion to suppress. The Supreme Court will now decide whether the Appellate Court properly determined that the judge issuing a search warrant made a scrivener's error as to the time of execution.