D.Conn.: Despite delay in seeking SW for electronics, on balance, warrant shall issue

Despite the delay in seeking a search warrant, the court finds the warrant should issue despite the delay because defendant was in custody otherwise denying him access to the property anyway. On the delay factor, investigations can’t be handed off from one agency to another to restart the delay clock. In re Search Warrant, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 218558 (D. Conn. Nov. 23, 2020):

“If the police have seized a person’s property for the purpose of applying for a warrant to search its contents, it is reasonable to expect that they will not ordinarily delay a month or more before seeking a search warrant.” Smith II, 967 F.3d at 206-07. The delay in this case was unreasonable. Notwithstanding that delay, however, the Court finds that the deprivation of the owners’ property rights was de minimis. “[T]he Fourth Amendment’s commands, like all constitutional requirements, are practical and not abstract.” United States v. Ventresca, 380 U.S. 102, 108 (1965). Accordingly, under the factors delineated in Smith, and in light of the purpose of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable seizures, the Court finds that issuance of the search warrant is appropriate.

Nothing in this Order should be construed as determining or limiting any party’s rights to seek other relief, in any forum, such as suppression of any evidence obtained, related to the seizure and, now, search of these devices.

At the time the Court reviewed the proposed search warrant with the government, the Court noted several concerns with Application A to the warrant, including: (1) the Affidavit and Application assert that the violations suspected are of subsections of 18 U.S.C. §2252A (receipt, distribution and possession of child pornography) but Attachment A to the proposed warrant references only 18 U.S.C. § 2251 (production of child pornography); (2) item 6 on the list of things to be seized refers to Kik, though no allegation has been made that Kik was used in this offense; (3) item 8 refers to Craigslist, though no allegation has been made that Craigslist was used in this offense. The government shall submit a revised proposed search warrant to the undersigned forthwith for review, by docketing the proposed search warrant on ECF as a “Notice.”

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