Sheriff Releases Balloon Boy Search Warrant Affidavit

The Sheriff of Larimer County, CO has released the search warrant documents in the Balloon Boy case, including the Affidavit for the Warrant and the return showing what was seized, to the public. No charges have yet been filed in the case.

The documents are available here. According to the Affidavit, Mrs. Heene told authorities on Oct. 17th that the incident was a hoax that she and her husband devised two weeks earlier; they told the kids to lie; they knew 6 year old Falcon was hiding in the house; and they did it to make the family more marketable.

Mr. Heene's attorney, David Lane, responds: [More...]

"Her English is not that great, first of all," Lane said, adding that he doesn't know the circumstances under which she was questioned.

Lane said that the sheriff separated the Heenes and would not let them talk to each other. "That is going to be the subject matter of some scrutiny," Lane said. "Was she under arrest? Was she not under arrest? Was she free to leave?" Lane added that Richard Heene has never admitted anything about a hoax.

Why is the Sheriff releasing these documents now? Could he do any more to prejudice a future jury pool?

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  • Display: Sort:
    Not likely to ever be a trial (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 08:33:29 PM EST
    Jiffypop Dad will cop to a minor charge and agree to some restitution, and years from now they will be the answer to a Friday night over drinks trivia question which no one will remember the answer to.

    Luckily there is no more What's My Line on TV or balloon boy would get his future 15 minutes with an appearance someday.

    I'm not all that interested (none / 0) (#7)
    by Fabian on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 07:08:02 AM EST
    in a criminal trial.

    A heaping dose of public humiliation plus a heaping dose of restitution, with or without a lawsuit, will suit me.  Toss in a courtesy call from Family Services to put a cherry on it.

    Call it karmic justice - they wanted to play the media and the people, then let them see what it is like when the beast turns.


    hmmmmmmmmmmmm...................... (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 08:31:53 PM EST
    Why is the Sheriff releasing these documents now? Could he do any more to prejudice a future jury pool?

    several possible motives come to mind:

    1. the "ocham's razor" motive: he's an idiot.
    2. the "reality show" motive: any publicity is good publicity.

    my personal favorite is 1.

    as to your second question:

    1. refer to #1 above.

    Linked article states s/w, return, and affidavit (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 09:33:05 PM EST
    were released from the courthouse.  No indication on those linke documents they were at some point under seal.  What is CO state law on whether such documents are public record unless ordered sealed by the judge?  Also, officer in charge of executing the s/w is mandated by the warrant to serve a copy on the residence.  So sounds like if the occupants of the residence should have been left a copy at the time the s/w was executed.

    there is no requirement they be sealed (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 10:13:56 PM EST
    but generally, when they search before arrest, they seal the affidavit.

    Notice does not apply to the affidavit, only the warrant and return. In this case, the Sheriff released all three to the media from the courthouse, even before turning them over to the defense lawyers. It's one thing to release the warrant and return, and another to release the affidavit. It's unusual and highly prejudicial.

    There are ethical rules about prosecutors and law enforcement not releasing prejudicial extrajudicial statements. The affidavit contains hearsay and the one-sided theories of law enforcement. The release sounds like a cheap media stunt to me. Legal, probably. Fair? No way.


    J (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by CoralGables on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 08:33:19 AM EST
    Since no charges have yet been filed, from an outsiders view wouldn't it be a bad sign for a budding defense that the Henne's already have separate lawyers?