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Friday, January 22, 2010

Ind. Decisions - No 7th Circuit Indiana opinions today, but one of definite interest yesterday

In U.S. v. Mann (ND Ind., Lozano), a 15-page opinion, Judge Rovner writes:
Matthew Eric Mann entered a conditional guilty plea to one count of possessing child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B). The district court sentenced Mann to sixty-three months imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release. Police discovered evidence supporting the child pornography charges while executing a warrant to search Mann’s computers and hard drives for the unrelated crime of voyeurism. Mann preserved the right to appeal the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress the child pornography on the grounds that the search exceeded the scope of the warrant. Although we are troubled by some aspects of the search, we ultimately conclude that, with one immaterial exception, the officer executing the search did not exceed the scope of the original warrant. * * *

On appeal, Mann maintains that the district court erred by denying his motion to suppress. In particular, Mann claims that the searches that uncovered the child pornography on his computer exceeded the scope of the original warrant and that the plain view doctrine does not apply on these facts. The government insists that the searches did not exceed the scope of the original warrant, and that the incriminating child pornography was in any event discovered in plain view.

See discussion of this opinion in "Plain View for Computer Searches Generates Two Circuit Splits in Two Days: United States v. Williams and United States v. Mann," an entry yesterday in the Volokh Conspiracy by Prof. Orin Kerr of GW Law. It begins:
Should courts adopt a new set of Fourth Amendment rules to regulate how the police can search computers for evidence? In particular, does the fact that so much electronic evidence outside the scope of a warrant can come into “plain view” during a computer search require a different approach to whether that evidence outside the scope of the warrant should be admitted?

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 22, 2010 12:22 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions