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In re Search of Black Iphone 4

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

March 11, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF THE SEARCH OF BLACK IPHONE 4. S/N NOT AVAILABLE; IN THE MATTER OF THE SEARCH OF SAMSUNG SGH-T989 AKA GALAXY S II CELLULAR TELEPHONE IMEI 359858/04/531905/8, S/N R31CC12PDBN; IN THE MATTER OF THE SEARCH OF SAMSUNG SGH-S150G CELLULAR TELEPHONE, BLACK IN COLOR, IMEI 564082/05/308324/2, S/N R21D5951DTV; IN THE MATTER OF THE SEARCH OF WESTERN DIGITAL TV. S/N WNT291019173; IN THE MATTER OF THE SEARCH OF WESTERN DIGITAL HARD DRIVE, S/N WCAUK1341857; IN THE MATTER OF THE SEARCH OF WESTERN DIGITAL MYBOOK ESSENTIAL HARD DRIVE, S/N WCAZA5015009

For USA (1:14-mj-00235-JMF-1, 1:14-mj-00236-JMF-1, 1:14-mj-00237-JMF-1, 1:14-mj-00238-JMF-1, 1:14-mj-00239-JMF-1, 1:14-mj-00240-JMF-1), Plaintiff: Ari B. Redbord, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN M. FACCIOLA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

Pending before the Court are six Applications for search and seizure warrants pursuant to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure for various electronic devices that were seized in a hotel room in Solomons, Maryland. See Affidavit In Support of Search Warrant at 8 (hereinafter the " Affidavit" ).[1] Three of these Applications use inaccurate, formulaic language; the other three fail to limit the scope of the search and seizure to data for which there is probable cause and do not provide the Court with any indication of how the search will be conducted. For the reasons stated below, the government's Applications for search and seizure warrants will be denied.

I. Background

Each of the six Applications is based on

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the same Affidavit,[2] and each pertains to an investigation of the distribution and possession of child pornography. According to the Affidavit, an undercover officer communicated with a suspect and eventually arranged to meet him at a Holiday Inn in Solomons, Maryland. Affidavit at 6-7. Pursuant to a search warrant executed on that hotel room, the government seized: 1) an iPhone 4; 2) a Samsung SGH-T989 cell phone; 3) a Samsung SGH-S150G cell phone; 4) a Western Digital TV; 5) a Western Digital hard drive; and 6) a Western Digital Mybook Essential hard drive. Id. at 8. Each Application seeks a search and seizure warrant that will permit the government to search these devices because the government believes they contain " evidence of the distribution and possession of child pornography" in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 2252(a)(2) and 2252A(a)(5)(B).[3]

Using a standard format, each Application contains an " Attachment A" that describes the device to be searched and an " Attachment B," which lists " Specific Items to Be Seized." Affidavit at 11. Each Attachment B is identical:

ATTACHMENT B

SPECIFIC ITEMS TO BE SEIZED

All records contained in the cellular telephones listed in Attachment A, including:

1. Any information, including text and instant messages, relating to the transportation, travel, enticement, or sexual conduct involving a minor;
2. Evidence of user attribution showing who had dominion, ownership, custody, or control of the device at the time the communications described in this warrant were created, edited, or deleted, such as logs, phonebooks, saved usernames and passwords, documents, and browsing history;
3. Records and things evidencing the use of any Internet Protocol address to communicate with the victim or her parents ...

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