CA8: Affiant officer’s belief that criminals brag about crimes on social media allows cell phone search in a gun case

“We conclude the affidavit adequately established probable cause that Ivey’s cell phone would contain evidence of a firearms offense. Officers found the phone in Ivey’s possession while he was located in a vehicle with a gun under his seat. The affiant explained that in his training and experience, offenders often use social media to talk about their crimes and to post images of their activities. Ivey’s own Facebook account displayed a photograph of a firearm posted less than a year before the traffic stop. There was a fair probability that evidence connecting Ivey to a firearms offense would be present in his phone.” Also, “The possibility that Ivey’s phone also contained information unrelated to the criminal investigation did not transform the warrant into an impermissible general warrant.” United States v. Ivey, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 1792 (8th Cir. Jan. 26, 2024). [Now anything can lead to a cell phone search? Regretfully, the officer is right. I’ve seen plenty of social media posts and TMs bragging about their guns, money, and drugs in discovery. Or the client’s denial, and then the co-defendant’s social media shows the client with a gun, money, or drugs. “I’ve never touched a gun.” “Let me ask you about this picture of you on [co-def’s] Facebook page.”]

Defendant was a lawful driver of the vehicle of another, so he had standing. The dog alert, however, was lawfully obtained and gave probable cause. United States v. Jiles, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 233863 (D. Neb. Dec. 29, 2023).*

Stone bars litigating defendant’s Fourth Amendment claim in his 2255. Moreover, he lost on that issue already in a motion to set aside the plea, and that’s binding. Williams v. United States, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13124 (D. Me. Jan. 25, 2024).*

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