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All Warrants for Raid on S.F. Journalist Now Declared Improper

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SFPD raided a freelance journalist's home and office on Friday, May 10, as part of a criminal investigation into what police say was the illegal release of its report about the Feb. 22, 2019, death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi. (Courtesy of Bryan Carmody)

The fifth of five San Francisco judges responsible for issuing controversial warrants for the San Francisco Police Department's raid of a journalist’s home and office moved Friday to quash a cell phone warrant he had previously issued.

On May 10, police raided the home and office of freelance reporter Bryan Carmody as part of an investigation into a leaked police report regarding the death of San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi.

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In quashing the warrant, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Joseph Quinn will require the Police Department to destroy any information they acquired. The warrant in question was one of three separate warrants to allow the search of Carmody’s cell phone calls, texts and tower date. Two other warrants had also been issued improper for the search of his home and office.

"Each of the warrants violated his shield law rights as a journalist and he, I know, is very proud that he fought back," said Carmody’s lawyer, Tom Burke.

The police report that Carmody obtained revealed that at the time of Adachi’s death on Feb. 22, he was at a friend's apartment with a woman who was not his wife and that officers found empty bottles of alcohol and marijuana gummies. Carmody, who said he received the report from a confidential source, sold the information to several news outlets.

On Friday, Quinn said that SFPD had not provided him with complete information when he initially issued the warrant, according to Burke.

Carmody is pleased that all of the searches he endured have been invalidated, Burke said, but is still waiting for the report from his confidential source to be returned.

KQED's Sara Hossaini contributed to this report.

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