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United States v. Thomas

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

June 11, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
DEREK THOMAS, Defendant-Appellant

Argued January 15, 2015.

Page 346

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Vermont.

The question presented is whether a search warrant affidavit that relied upon evidence generated by an automated software program provided a substantial basis for a magistrate judge's conclusion that there was probable cause that child pornography would be found on defendant's computer.

We hold that the affidavit at issue sufficiently established probable cause and that defendant's motions to suppress were properly denied.

The judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont (Christina Reiss, Chief Judge) is affirmed.

ELIZABETH D. MANN, Tepper Dardeck Levins & Mann, LLP, Rutland, VT, for Defendant-Appellant.

NANCY J. CRESWELL (Paul J. Van De Graaf, on the brief), Assistant United States Attorneys, for Eugenia A.P. Cowles, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, Burlington, VT, for Appellee.

Before: WINTER, CABRANES, and RAGGI, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 347

José A. Cabranes, Circuit Judge :

The question presented is whether a search warrant affidavit that relied upon evidence generated by an automated software program provided a substantial basis for a magistrate judge's conclusion that there was probable cause that child pornography would be found on defendant's computer.

We hold that the affidavit at issue sufficiently established probable cause and that defendant's motions to suppress were properly denied.

The judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont (Christina Reiss, Chief Judge ) is affirmed.

BACKGROUND

Defendant Derek Thomas appeals from the denial of his motions to suppress the searches of his residence and his computer. Thomas pleaded guilty to the production of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a),[1] but reserved the right to appeal from two orders of the District Court for the District of Vermont (Christina Reiss, Chief Judge ) denying his motions to suppress evidence. On March 31, 2014, the District Court sentenced Thomas principally to 180 months' imprisonment and 8 years' supervised release.

Thomas was arrested as part of a joint federal and state law enforcement investigation in Vermont during 2011 and 2012, known as " Operation Greenwave," into potential child pornography offenses committed through the use of peer-to-peer (" P2P" ) file-sharing software.[2] As part of the investigation, law ...


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