IN: Cell phones are a tool of the trade of drug dealers; a lot of information extracted from it doesn’t show SW was overbroad

There was nexus between defendant’s alleged crime of drug dealing and his cell phone since cell phones are a tool of drug dealers. The search warrant was not impermissibly overbroad. Although 1000 pages of information was extracted from the phone, it wasn’t practical to do it any other way. Carter v. State, 2018 Ind. App. LEXIS 234 (June 28, 2018):

P18 Examining the instant case in light of Eaton, here, the supporting affidavit even more directly set forth the nexus between the asserted criminal activity—dealing methamphetamine—and the place to be searched—the cell phone, through which dealers typically communicate concerning their illegal activity. Thus, the affidavit provided a substantial basis for determining that probable cause existed to support the issuance of a warrant to search the phone. Yet, underlying probable cause is not the only facet of a constitutional warrant.

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P23 However, the warrant specifically described the place law enforcement could search—the phone recovered from Carter—and specifically described what law enforcement could search for—(1) “any information relating to calls, messages, including Facebook messages and accounts,” and (2) “all information … that would indicate the identity of the phone’s owner/user.” Pre-trial Hearing Exhibit 1. Moreover, the first clause permitting the search for calls and messages enjoys a close nexus to the probable cause that justified issuing the search warrant—which is that Carter was a suspected drug dealer, and drug dealers use cell phones to communicate with others involved in illicit drug activity. See Eaton, 889 N.E.2d at 300. Thus, this aspect of the search warrant was “tailored to its justifications.” Maryland, 480 U.S. at 84.

P24 In carrying out the search, law enforcement did extract more than one thousand pages of information using a “logical extraction” device that created an “auto generated” report of the file architecture on the phone. Tr. Vol. IV at 142-43. Although Carter draws our attention to the quantity of data extracted, he has not demonstrated that there was any other way to practically conduct the permitted search. As the State observes, “[a] great deal of other information will likely have to be sifted through in order to find the relevant information—similar to looking through drawers in a home or office file cabinet for specific files or letters that are relevant to the investigation.” Appellee’s Br. at 15. Ultimately, we discern no indication that law enforcement had the ability to determine, ex ante, that certain pages could not have contained any of the information sought. See United States v. Stabile, 633 F.3d 219, 238 (3d Cir. 2011) (“‘[A] computer search may be as extensive as reasonably required to locate the items described in the warrant’ based on probable cause.” (quoting United States v. Grimmett, 439 F.3d 1263, 1270 (10th Cir. 2006)); Wheeler v. State, 135 A.3d 282, 301 (Del. 2016) (“Some irrelevant files may have to be at least cursorily perused to determine whether they are within the authorized search ambit.”).

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