S.D.N.Y.: RS parolee is into drugs justifies PO’s cell phone search

State parole officers with reasonable suspicion defendant was involved in drugs could seize and search his cell phone. United States v. Devaughn, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5406 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 11, 2022).

There was no reasonable suspicion for a probation search of defendant on supervision who met up with a coworker on a Wendy’s parking lot after work. “There is some evidence indicating that this was an area of Milwaukee where drugs were sold, but, unfortunately, drugs are sold almost everywhere. The parking lot serves two business and is adjacent to a freeway exit, making it a relatively convenient rendezvous point for a coworker driving back to Milwaukee from a building site in Lake Geneva.” “Moreover, Johnson and his coworker calmly gave plausible, consistent, and innocent reasons for their meeting, which ought to have dispelled any percolating suspicion. The police extended the stop in the hopes of extracting some basis for the search, but, objectively, the situation remained unsuspicious until the police searched the car and found drugs. Johnson invoked Maslow’s hammer–a confirmation bias that leads people to mistaken outcomes–and the Court will repeat it here: ‘[I]t is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.’” United States v. Johnson, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4954 (E.D.Wis. Jan. 11, 2022).*

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