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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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