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7th Circuit: Recording of drug deal doesn’t taint conviction

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A taped conversation between a suspected heroin dealer and a confidential informant in which a sentence was admitted into evidence was not fruit of the poison tree dooming a conviction that was supported by plenty of other evidence, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Allen County detectives arranged a criminal informant to make multiple purchases of heroin from Gerald Reynolds. At some point, Reynolds drove the CI’s car to the home of his supplier, John Scott. Unbeknownst to either man, the car had recording equipment that captured a driveway conversation involving drug purchases.

Scott ultimately pleaded guilty to possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute under the Controlled Substances Act, Title 21, U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, denied his motion to suppress a search warrant of Scott’s home that followed the captured conversation, but Scott’s plea preserved the right to appeal that issue.

The 7th Circuit rejected Scott’s claims in United States of America v. John Scott 12-2962, that the recorded conversation was the primary reason authorities sought a warrant.

“The detective’s affidavit contained many facts other than the recording of Scott’s driveway conversation, and these other facts were sufficient to create probable cause to support a search warrant of Scott’s house,” wrote U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee of the Northern District of Illinois, sitting by designation.   

 “Thus, we need not reach the issue of whether Scott had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his driveway conversation with Reynolds and affirm the district court’s denial of Scott’s motion to suppress,” Lee wrote for the panel.

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  1. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  2. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  3. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  4. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

  5. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

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