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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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