United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER AFFIRMING RECOMMENDED DECISION ON
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS
A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court affirms a recommended decision to deny a motion to
suppress evidence of the Defendant's possession of child
pornography on his electronic media. The Court concludes that
the Defendant, who was on state probation at the time of the
search, had expressly consented to such searches as a
condition of his probation, that law enforcement had a
reasonable suspicion to search his computers, and that,
contrary to Defendant's contention, there is no
“one search rule” that prohibits law enforcement
from repeated, random searches of a sex offender's
computer equipment, even though prior searches did not reveal
the presence of illicit material.
February 15, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Derrick A.
Coffin for three criminal law violations, each involving
child pornography. Indictment (ECF No. 1). On April
26, 2017, Mr. Coffin filed a motion to suppress the results
of a search of a Sony laptop, a Samsung cellphone, and an
S.D. card removed from his house on March 18, 2016.
Def.'s Mot. to Suppress Searches (ECF No. 28)
(Def.'s Mot.). On May 17, 2017, the Government
filed its opposition to the motion to suppress.
Gov't's Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to
Suppress (ECF No. 33) (Gov't's
Opp'n). On June 16, 2017, Mr. Coffin filed a reply.
Def.'s Reply to Gov't's Resp. to Mot. to
Suppress (ECF No. 41) (Def.'s Reply).
October 24, 2017, the Magistrate Judge held an evidentiary
hearing on the motion to suppress. Tr. of
Proceedings, Mot. Hr'g (ECF No. 66)
(Tr.). On November 22, 2017, the Magistrate Judge
issued a recommended decision, recommending that the Court
deny the motion to suppress. Recommended Decision on
Def.'s Mot. to Suppress (ECF No. 63)
(Recommended Decision). On December 6, 2017, Mr.
Coffin filed an objection to the recommended decision.
Def.'s Obj. to Recommended Decision Denying Mot. to
Suppress (ECF No. 64) (Def.'s Obj.). On
December 20, 2017, the Government responded to the
Defendant's objection to the recommended decision.
Gov't's Resp. to Def.'s Obj. to Recommended
Decision Denying Mot. to Suppress (ECF No. 65)
(Gov't's Resp.). On January 8, 2018, a
transcript of the evidentiary hearing was filed. Tr.
Derrick Coffin's Conviction, Sentence and
March 3, 2006, a Superior Court Justice for the state of
Maine sentenced Derrick Coffin to fifteen years of
incarceration with all but eight years suspended and ten
years of probation for Gross Sexual Assault, a violation of
17-A M.R.S. § 253(1), a Class A crime; Burglary, a
violation of 17-A M.R.S. § 401(1)(B)(4), a Class B
crime; and Aggravated Criminal Trespass, a violation of 17-A
M.R.S. § 402-A, a Class C crime. Gov't's
Opp'n Attach. 1 (J. & Commitment). Mr.
Coffin's underlying crime was the rape of a young boy.
Tr. 68:7-11. On October 5, 2012, Mr. Coffin began
his probationary term with the state of Maine. Id.
45:22-24; J. & Commitment Attach. 3
(Violation Review Form at 2). On December 9, 2014,
Mr. Coffin consented to a modification of his conditions of
probation to include:
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 its storage and display
mediums under your custody or control for evidence of such
materials or activities.
Id. Attach. 4 (Mot. to Amend the Conditions of
Amanda Fowler and Derrick Coffin: January to March
January 2015, a woman named Amanda Fowler began to date
Derrick Coffin. Tr. 16:19-24. She ended the
relationship after about two months, roughly March 2015, when
she found Mr. Coffin masturbating in his car while viewing
child pornography. Id. 16:25-17:16. After Mr. Coffin
had finished masturbating, Ms. Fowler saw him remove a thumb
drive from his cellphone and place it in the console of the
car. Id. 17:25-18:6. Ms. Fowler did not immediately
report what she had witnessed to the authorities.
May 2015 to July 2015: The First Search
2015, Mr. Coffin's Probation Officer (PO) was Dennis
Haislet. Tr. On May 5, 2015, Mr. Coffin admitted to
PO Haislet that he had viewed child pornography about six
months after he had started on probation. Tr.
73:7-24; 74:11-20. However, Mr. Coffin said that he had
destroyed the disc that contained the child pornography.
Tr. 73:20-24; 75:2-11. Nevertheless, on May 5, 2015,
Mr. Coffin told PO Haislet that he had masturbated to sexual
fantasies involving minors. Tr. 69:3-5.
by these revelations, PO Haislet initiated a probation search
of Mr. Coffin's home in May 2015, including all of his
computers. Tr. 75:21-76:15. The searching officers
turned over Mr. Coffin's computer equipment to officers
from the Maine State Crime Lab. Tr. 76:6-77:2. The
searching officers did not, however, look for thumb drives or
other removable media. Tr. 77:3-11. The Maine State
Crime Lab officers performed on on-site check of Mr.
Coffin's computer equipment and found child pornography
on one of the computers.Id. 77:15-18. The Maine State
Crime Lab did not find any child pornography on Mr.
Coffin's other home computer or on his cellphone.
Tr. 78:7-82:2. Based on some questionable searches
on his cellphone (for example, young ...