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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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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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