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State v. Evans

Superior Court of Maine, Kennebec

October 31, 2016

STATE OF MAINE
v.
CHARLES EVANS, JR.

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS

          Michaela Murphy Justice.

         Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Suppress Search Warrant M. R.U. Crim. P. 41A.

         I. Statements of Fact

1. A warrant was requested by Augusta Police Department Detective Matthew Estes on April 14, 2016.
2. The same warrant was reviewed, signed, and issued by Augusta District Court Judge Stanfield on April 14, 2016.
3. The search warrant was executed on April 26, 2016 at the specified address of 54 Middle St. Apt. 3, Augusta, ME.
4. The executed search warrant was returned, with inventory, to the clerk's office on May 2, 2016.
5. The search warrant specifically stated that property to be seized included "cellular phones and other electronic and/or digital transmitting devices..."
6. The content information obtained in this case was obtained directly from the phone by law enforcement officers and not from a provider of an electronic communication service.

         II. Conclusions of Law

         Defendant brings this motion seeking to suppress all content discovered on Defendant's cell phone pursuant to 16 M.R.S. § 645. Defendant argues that the search of content on his cell phone following its seizure is governed by Maine Revised Statutes Title 16, Chapter 3, Subchapter 10: "Portable Electronic Device Content Information". According to Title 16, Section § 643, "Notice must be given to the owner or user of a portable electronic device whose content information was obtained by a government entity." 16 M.R.S. § 643. This notice must be provided within 3 days of obtaining the content information unless the State has sought exception from the Court. Id. Where the State obtains content information in violation of Subchapter 10, 16 M.R.S. § 645 requires that the evidence be excluded. Defendant argues that because no notice was provided after the State obtained content based information from Defendant's cell phone, the State violated section 643 and the evidence should be suppressed pursuant to section 645.

         The Court looks to the plain language of a criminal statute in order to interpret the legislative intent, "avoiding absurd, illogical, or inconsistent results." State v. White, 2001 ME 65, ¶ 4, 769 A.2d 827; State v. King, 371 A.2d 640, 642 (Me. 1977). When interpreting statute, the Court must "consider the whole statutory scheme for which the section at issue forms a part so that a harmonious result, presumably the intent of the Legislature, may be achieved." State v. Day, 2000 ME 192, ¶ 5, 760 A.2d 1039.

         When interpreting the statute as a whole, it is clear that section 643 requires notice to be provided to a cell phone user every time cell phone content has been obtained by a government entity. ...


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