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State v. Roy

Supreme Court of Maine

January 29, 2019

STATE OF MAINE
v.
CHRISTOPHER W.ROY

          Argued: September 13, 2018

          Tina Heather Nadeau, Esq. (orally), The Law Office of Tina Heather Nadeau, PLLC, Portland, for appellant Christopher W. Roy

          Andrew S. Robinson, District Attorney, and Patricia A. Mador, Asst. Dist. Atty. (orally), Lewiston, for appellee State of Maine

          Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          HUMPHREY, J.

         [¶l] In this appeal, we address the effect of technology on the constitutional balance between the particularity and timeliness requirements of a search warrant and the ever-expanding digital space into which that search may reach.

         [¶2] Christopher W. Roy appeals from a judgment of conviction for three counts of possession of sexually explicit material of a minor under age twelve (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 284(1) (C) (2017), entered in the trial court (Androscoggin County, MG Kennedy, J?) after Roy pleaded guilty conditioned on his opportunity to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. M.R.U. Crim. P. 11(a)(2). We affirm the judgment.

          I. BACKGROUND

         [¶3] Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the court's order denying the motion to suppress, the record supports the following facts. See State v. Sasso, 2016 ME 95, U 2, 143 A.3d 124. On August 18, 2016, a detective with the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit used a file-sharing network to download a file of interest in child pornography investigations. The detective determined that this file was made available by a device connected to a certain IP address.[1] The detective later viewed the file, which included a video of a young girl, approximately three to five years of age, unclothed and being sexually abused by an adult.

         [¶4] The detective consulted with the United States Department of Homeland Security and learned that the IP address was registered to Time Warner Cable, a nationwide internet service provider. On August 22, 2016, Time Warner informed the detective that Roy was the subscriber of the account associated with that IP address when the video file was downloaded and provided the detective with the account's service address in Maine. The address matched that of Roy on file with the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

         [¶5] Based on this information, the detective prepared an affidavit and request for a search warrant. On August 31, 2016-thirteen days after learning that the downloaded file appeared on the file-sharing network by way of Roy's IP address-the detective sought and the court issued a warrant authorizing (a) the search of Roy's residence and property, outbuildings, vehicles, and persons on the property at the time the warrant was to be executed, and (b) in relevant part, the seizure of the following items believed to "constitute instrumentalities" of the crimes of illegal possession and dissemination of sexually explicit depictions of minors, 17-A M.R.S. §§ 283, 284 (2017):

1. Images of child pornography, in any form;
2. Records or images in any form pertaining to the manufacture, possession or receipt of child pornography;
3. Records or images in any form relating to the identity of the minors depicted in any seized images;
4. Records or images in any form reflecting personal contact with any of the minors depicted in any seized images;
5. Records or images in any form reflecting access to, or payment for access to, websites containing or relating to child pornography;
6. Computers, portable electronic devices and digital storage media of any kind . . . . [A]ny electronic system or device capable of storing and/or processing data in digital form, including: central processing units; laptops or notebook computers; personal digital assistants; wireless communication devices such as telephone paging devices, beepers, and cellular telephones[;] peripheral input/output [devices] such as keyboards, printers, scanners, plotters, monitors, and drives intended for removable] media; related communications devices such as modem[s], cables, and ...

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