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United States v. Raymonda

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

March 2, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellant,
v.
JAMES RAYMONDA, Defendant-Appellee

Argued November 3, 2014

Page 106

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Page 107

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 108

The government appeals from an order of the district court suppressing evidence of child pornography obtained at James Raymonda's home on the grounds that the search warrant, issued on the basis of a single incident of access to online child pornography more than nine months earlier, was not supported by probable cause. The government argues that the evidence should not be suppressed, because the known propensity of child pornography enthusiasts to hoard pornographic images precludes a finding of staleness and because the executing officers were entitled to rely in good faith on the search warrant. We hold that evidence of access to child pornography on a single occasion, absent any indicia of the suspect's deliberate intention to access those images, does not support an inference that the suspect is a hoarder of child pornography sufficient to create probable cause to believe that child pornography will be found at the suspect's home nine months later. Nevertheless, we further hold that suppression of the evidence was not required because the agents executing the search relied in good faith on a duly issued warrant.

REVERSED.

MONICA J. RICHARDS, Assistant United States Attorney, for William J. Hochul, Jr., United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, Buffalo, New York.

MARYBETH COVERT, Assistant Federal Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Western District of New York, Buffalo, New York, for Defendant-Appellee James Raymonda.

Before: WALKER, LYNCH, and CHIN, Circuit Judges. Denny Chin, Circuit Judge, filed a separate opinion, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

OPINION

Page 109

Gerard E. Lynch, Circuit Judge.

More than nine months after someone using defendant-appellee James Raymonda's IP address accessed thumbnail images of child pornography on the Internet, government agents obtained a search warrant for his home and discovered over one thousand files of child pornography. The United States District Court for the Western District of New York (William M. Skretny, Chief Judge ) granted Raymonda's motion to suppress, finding that the government's evidence that Raymonda had accessed child pornography on a single occasion nine months earlier was too stale to establish probable cause that he would still possess illicit images at the time of the search. The United States appeals that decision, arguing that the recognized propensity of persons interested in child pornography to collect and hoard such images supports an inference that Raymonda would still possess child pornography when the warrant was sought. Alternatively, the government argues that, even if probable cause was lacking, the evidence should not be suppressed because the agents who executed the search relied in good faith on a warrant duly issued by a judicial officer.

We agree with the district court that a single incident of access to thumbnail images of child pornography, absent any other circumstances suggesting that the suspect accessed those images deliberately or has a continuing interest in child pornography, fails to establish probable cause that the suspect will possess illicit images many months later. However, because the agents in this case relied in good faith on a magistrate judge's ...


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