D.D.C.: Joint venture doctrine is product of 4A, and citizens of another country prosecuted here for what happened there can’t claim it

Non-citizens cannot claim the joint venture doctrine in claiming an alleged Fourth Amendment violation in another country by the U.S. being on an alleged joint venture with the other country in a criminal investigation. In addition, the conduct doesn’t shock the conscience under that standard, either. United States v. Knowles, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178210 (D.D.C. Dec. 30, 2015):

The joint-venture doctrine “is based solely on the Fourth Amendment[.]” United States v. Bourdet, 477 F. Supp. 2d 164, 176 (D.D.C. 2007) (quoting Barona, 56 F.3d at 1093) (internal quotation mark omitted). But “[t]he incantation of the words ‘joint venture’ cannot confer upon defendants Fourth Amendment rights that they do not otherwise possess.” Id. Defendants must “show that they are among the class of persons that the Fourth Amendment was meant to protect.” Id. (quoting Barona, 56 F.3d at 1093) (internal quotation mark omitted). Non-resident aliens lacking “voluntary connection to the United States” are not entitled to Fourth Amendment protections “with respect to foreign actions by foreign officials.” Larrahondo, 885 F. Supp. 2d. at 221 (quoting Bourdet, 477 F. Supp. 2d. at 176-77 (citing United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 274-75 (1990))).

The defendants claim that “the purpose behind the production of the audio recordings was to obtain information to support a United States federal narcotics prosecution. Accordingly, the audio recordings in this case can best be described as the product of a ‘joint venture’ between the DEA and foreign law enforcement.” Mot. at 3. The defendants also acknowledge, though, that “the Fourth Amendment does not apply to non-resident aliens in foreign territory[.]” Mot. at 3 (citing Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. at 259). The defendants are neither citizens nor residents of the United States, Govt. at 2, and neither has shown any qualifying voluntary connection to the United States. Accordingly, the joint venture doctrine exception does not entitle the defendants to seek to suppress the recordings, regardless of how they were procured.

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