United States v. Levin, No. 16-1567 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit vacated the order of the district court granting Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized pursuant to a Network Investigative Technique (NIT) warrant obtained from a magistrate judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, holding that suppression was not warranted where the FBI acted in good faith reliance on the NIT warrant.
The FBI in this case installed the NIT software on Playpen, a child pornography website it had taken over and was operating out of Virginia. The NIT effectively travelled to computers that were downloading from the website and then caused those computers to transmit information back to the FBI allowing the FBI to locate the computers. One computer the FBI located in this manner belonged to Defendant, who lived in Massachusetts. Defendant was charged with one count of possession of child pornography. The district court granted Defendant’s motion to suppress, concluding that the NIT warrant was issued without jurisdiction because the warrant purported to authorize a search of property located outside the federal judicial district where the issuing judge sat. The First Circuit reversed, holding that because the executing officers acted in good faith reliance on the NIT warrant, the exception set forth in United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984) applied.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on November 21, 2017.