Judge Unseals Schwilk Warrant

Teri Figueroa, North County Times (Escondido), March 30, 2007

The founder of the San Diego Minutemen won his bid in court Thursday to unseal the sworn statement of a police detective in support of a warrant to search the home of the controversial activist.

Anti-illegal immigration activist Jeff Schwilk also won approval in his quest to have Judge Jeffrey Fraser order San Diego police to return any items from last week’s search——part of a criminal investigation into the vandalism of three migrant camps in Rancho Penasquitos——that are not deemed relevant to the case.

No one has been charged in the Jan. 27 slashing and destruction of the camps in McGonigle Canyon, an attack during which vandals allegedly cut and destroyed clothing, sleeping bags, and other items belonging to the migrants.

The case remains under investigation for vandalism, but “police also characterize it as a potential hate-crime case,” Deputy District Attorney Oscar Garcia told Judge Fraser in court.

Garcia also said that police have focused on people who have ties to the San Diego Minutemen, an anti-illegal immigration group that has protested outside of sites where day labors gather in search of work, and migrant squatter camps.

{snip}

The newly unsealed affidavit is a sworn statement by San Diego police Detective Patrick Lenhart, in which Lenhart lays out his investigation and asked for permission to search Schwilk’s Oceanside home for evidence possibly linking Schwilk to the crime.

{snip}

Eight days after police searched his home and seized items, Schwilk told a judge that he wanted to get some of his stuff back.

Among the items Schwilk said he most wants back is his computer, which contains information on members of the American Independent Party. Schwilk said in court that he is the communications director for the party’s local central committee.

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Fraser said that any seized political information should be returned to Schwilk, and ordered the San Diego Police Department to do so expeditiously.

Also seized by police was the phone list of members of the Minutemen. Other items taken from Schwilk’s home include cameras, videotapes and computer disks, according to the search warrant receipt.

{snip}

Lenhart’s affidavit also noted that none of the witnesses picked out Schwilk from a lineup of photographs, nor did anyone pick out Adams.

Adams did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday night.

{snip}

[Editor’s Note: AR News’s entry for the story of the police search of Jeff Schwilk’s home can be read here.

[A video of Jeff Schwilk’s exchange with the press after the decision can be viewed here.]

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