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United States v. Coffin

United States District Court, D. Maine

November 22, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DERRICK A. COFFIN, Defendant

          RECOMMENDED DECISION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS

          JOHN C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained following a search of his residence on March 18, 2016. (Motion, ECF No. 28.) In particular, Defendant seeks to exclude evidence obtained as the result of the search of a laptop computer, a cell phone, and a secure digital (SD) card, which items law enforcement obtained during the search of Defendant's residence. Defendant contends the search of the items was unlawful because law enforcement officers did not have a warrant to search the items and because the officers lacked reasonable suspicion to seize and search the items.

         Following an evidentiary hearing on the motion, and after consideration of the parties' arguments, I recommend the Court deny Defendant's motion to suppress.

         Proposed Findings of Fact

         Based on the evidence presented at the hearing, which evidence includes the parties' stipulation (ECF No. 44), I recommend the Court find the following facts:

1. On March 3, 2006, Defendant was convicted in Maine state court of gross sexual assault of a child under the age of 12. The state court sentenced Defendant to a 15-year term of imprisonment, with all but 8 years suspended. Defendant was also sentence to a 10-year period of probation to be served upon his release from prison.
2. On December 18, 2014, with Defendant's consent, Defendant's probation conditions were amended to provide that Defendant shall:
Not view, listen to, or possess pornographic, sexually explicit, or provocative acts, performances, or materials in any form, and submit to random search of your person, residence, vehicles, and all other spaces and materials, including electronic equipment and storage and display mediums under your custody or control for evidence of such materials or activities.
3. On March 18, 2016, Defendant was subject to the conditions of his probation, as amended.
4. In March 2016, Detective Mark Fucile of the Lincoln (Maine) Police Department maintained an alias Facebook account in order to monitor activity and individuals in the area. As part of this effort, Detective Fucile noted a post from an individual named Derrick Beal. In the post, Mr. Beal asserted that a sex offender from Lincoln had hacked his Facebook account.
5. As the result of the post, Detective Fucile learned that Defendant was the offender to whom Mr. Beal referred. During a subsequent conversation with Detective Fucile, Mr. Beal reported that his girlfriend, Andrea Fowler, used to date Defendant and that Defendant had previously hacked Ms. Fowler's Facebook account. Mr. Beal provided Detective Fucile with Ms. Fowler's contact information.
6. Ms. Fowler told Detective Fucile that she dated Defendant for approximately two months. She reported that she ended the relationship in March 2015 after she found Defendant in his vehicle in her driveway “touching himself” while watching child pornography on his phone. When she found him, Defendant asked Ms. Fowler if she wanted to watch the video, which Ms. Fowler said appeared to depict the sexual assault of a minor child. When Ms. Fowler said she did not want to watch the video, Defendant took what Ms. Fowler described as “a thumb drive” out of his phone and placed it in the console of the vehicle. Ms. Fowler stated that she never reported the incident to law enforcement because Defendant threatened her if she did so.
7. Detective Fucile then contacted state probation to report the information he learned from Ms. Fowler. Dennis Haislet is the probation officer assigned to Defendant. Officer Haislet decided to conduct a search at Defendant's residence for the “thumb drive.” Detective Fucile had previously assisted Officer Haislet on inspections of Defendant's residence.
8. On March 18, 2016, Officer Haislet, accompanied by six other law enforcement officers, appeared at Defendant's ...

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