S.D.Tex.: Govt’s showing def’s connection to package showed standing; USPS delay while kind of long wasn’t unreasonable or abnormal

Defendant didn’t testify at the suppression hearing, but the officer’s testimony adequately showed defendant’s standing to contest the search of his package. An alias was used, and the government’s efforts to link him to the package showed his standing. The delay of the package in transit by the USPS’s “snail mail” was not unreasonable and appeared to be in the normal course of business. United States v. Beard, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86290 (S.D. Tex. May 17, 2019):

First, the delay while the parcel was shipped from Houston to Hammond and returned to Houston, although spanning multiple days, was not unreasonably long. Moreover, the delay was not the “fault” of law enforcement. Gordon testified that when he requested that the package be pulled from the mail stream, it was located in a shipping warehouse from which the postal inspectors had never successfully requested that the parcel be pulled. From there, it appears that the parcel took three days in transit from Houston to Hammond where it was “seized,” as that term is understood in law. Then, it took another five days in transit returning from Hammond to Houston—allegedly via express mail. While the Court occasionally finds the slow speed of ground mail to be vexing (and perhaps the reason it is now termed “snail mail”), it does note that this return was over a weekend and that it did not involve any lack of diligence on behalf of law enforcement. Gordon testified that he followed normal procedures and expected the parcel would be returned within one to two days, rather than the five days it actually took to travel from Hammond to Houston. Once it arrived in Houston, law enforcement acted quickly.

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