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Evidence properly admitted under independent source doctrine

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found no plain error in a District Court’s decision to admit evidence of a telephone number on a defendant’s cell phone in 2007 at the man’s trial several years later.

In United States of America v. Andre Moody, No. 10-3924, Andre Moody was arrested in 2007 and convicted of possession of methamphetamine and given probation. At that time, a search of phone numbers in Moody’s phone included one in the memory as “G.” Nothing further was done with this information. Two years later, Moody was arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and distribution of five grams or more of methamphetamine. At this time, police were able to determine that the telephone number of “G” belonged to Gonzalo Gutierrez, who provided Moody with methamphetamine. Gutierrez was also arrested the same day as Moody and money found on Gutierrez matched the currency a confidential informant had delivered to Moody earlier that day for drugs.

Moody never sought to suppress the cell phone evidence prior to trial and didn’t object at trial to its admission, so the 7th Circuit reviewed the admission for plain error. Moody claimed the evidence was the fruit on an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment and that because the cell phone evidence was key to the government’s case that he was involved in a large methamphetamine distribution conspiracy, all evidence derived from that initial illegal search should be suppressed and his conviction overturned.

“We decline to consider the legality of Detective Rogers’s search of Moody’s cell phone because … even if we were to question the legality of the search, the evidence recovered in the initial search was ignored until later discovered by an independent source — the subpoenaed cell phone records — over two years after the initial search, thus freeing it from any taint that would require its exclusion at trial,” wrote Judge Daniel Manion.

 

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  1. Welcome to Hendricks County where local and state statutes (especially Indiana Class C misdemeanors) are given a higher consideration than Federal statues and active duty military call-ups.

  2. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

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  4. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

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