E.D.Wis.: Six week delay in getting SW for electronics was reasonable; affidavit for SW showed scope of investigation

A six week delay between seizure of electronic devices and then seeking a warrant was reasonable. There likely was probable cause based on the seizure, but the affidavit for the warrant showed what the officers were doing in their “robust” investigation of defendant’s fraud case. United States v. Newman, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126160 (E.D. Wis. July 17, 2020):

Finally-and significantly-there is a good explanation for the government’s delay in obtaining a warrant to search the electronics. The government arrested Defendant on probable cause that he committed fraud, and later found cash, checks, and other financial documents in the vehicle (in which Defendant lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy) suggesting that Defendant might be involved in additional fraudulent schemes. It is true that the government could have obtained a search warrant soon after Defendant’s arrest based purely on the probable cause for that arrest, and, under certain circumstances, a failure to do so with some alacrity might point to a constitutional violation. However, in this case, the application for the search warrant also contains a thorough description of the robust inquiry that was conducted into the additional pieces of evidence that were found during and after the arrest. (Docket #22-1). The application includes a detailed explanation of how these additional pieces of evidence fit into the government’s theory of the case, and why they support the application for a search warrant of the electronic devices. Id. ¶¶ 57-61. It is clear that the government actively investigated the facts of the case prior to requesting a search warrant for the electronic devices. Accordingly, the Court finds that the six-week delay was reasonable under the circumstances.

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