COA affirms denial of motion to suppress in child porn case

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the denial of a Dubois County man’s second motion to suppress evidence found on a hard drive he owned that tied him to charges of child pornography.

Nathan Albrecht was denied a motion to suppress evidence found on a hard drive he owned, which led to the State of Indiana filing 10 counts of possession of child pornography against him.

Issues arose for Albrecht when a minor he was mentoring through Mentors for Youth told authorities that Albrecht inappropriately touched him. Based on the child’s allegations, the police sought a search warrant and informed the trial court of allegations of child molesting.

The Dubois Circuit Court found that there was probable cause for a search warrant, which ultimately resulted in discovery of external hard drives and condoms. A second search warrant was sought to seize and search the hard drive found in Albrecht’s bathroom and the cell phone in Albrecht’s possession upon his arrest. Subsequent search warrants were granted to search his apartment and other electronic devices, leading to charges of possession of child pornography.

The trial court denied Albrecht’s first motion to suppress evidence found on the hard drive, as well as his subsequent second motion. In an interlocutory appeal of the denial of his second motion to suppress, Albrecht challenged the second search warrant, alleging that it lacked probable cause and did not meet the particularity requirement under the Fourth Amendment.

However, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that the issuing judge had a substantial basis for concluding that probable cause existed for the issuance of the second search warrant and that there was a fair probability that evidence of a crime may be present on the hard drive.

“In other words, the totality of these circumstances, along with reasonable inferences, demonstrated a sufficient nexus between the suspected criminal activity and the hard drive that the police sought to search. Accordingly, the trial court did not err when it denied Albrecht’s motion to suppress based on his probable cause challenge,” Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote for the appellate court.

It also found that the search warrant met the particularity requirement, and therefore the trial court did not err by denying Albrecht’s motion to suppress based on that challenge either.

The case is Nathan C. Albrecht v. State of Indiana, 20A-CR-945.

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