Inspection Warrants Prove Successful

Issue 7 and Volume 130.

Inspection Warrants Prove Successful In February 1963, a uniformed member of the Seattle Fire Department attempted to conduct a routine inspection of a warehouse building. The owner maintained the building as a locked premises and contended that, as the premises were locked and not open to the public, he considered the building private property and, therefore, refused the inspector the right to enter without a search warrant. Eventually, the case reached the United States Supreme Court, and the constitutionality of the city ordinance permitting the Seattle Fire Department to inspect all business occupancies was upheld. This was hailed as “the most significant, single judicial decision ever made concerning the Seattle Fire Department,” and over the years the department has experienced very little difficulty in conducting the regular annual inspections. In the rare instance where permission is not granted, an inspection warrant is obtained. Thus far this year four such warrants…

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