United States v. Krueger, No. 14-3035 (10th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
The Government appealed the district court's grant of defendant-appellee Zachary Krueger motion to suppress evidence seized in Oklahoma pursuant to a warrant issued by a magistrate judge in Kansas. Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) learned that child pornography was being distributed over the internet from an IP address registered to Krueger, a Kansas resident. An HSI agent thereafter obtained a warrant from a United States magistrate judge in the District of Kansas to search Krueger’s Kansas residence for items such as computers and cell phones that may be used to depict child pornography visually. Upon executing the warrant, the agent discovered that Krueger was not home and that his computer and cell phone were not in the residence. Krueger’s roommate, who was present at the time, indicated that Krueger was in Oklahoma City visiting a friend, and that Krueger may have taken his computer and cell phone with him to Oklahoma. Based on this information, the Kansas-based HSI agent asked an Oklahoma-based HSI agent to verify Krueger’s whereabouts and execute a second warrant, obtained from a different United States magistrate judge in the District of Kansas. This warrant authorized law enforcement to search both the Oklahoma residence and Krueger’s automobile parked outside the Oklahoma residence for electronic devices belonging to Krueger or in his possession. Krueger was present when the agents executed the second warrant, and they seized (among other things) Krueger’s computer and external hard drive. In granting Krueger’s motion to suppress this evidence, the district court concluded that suppression was necessary because: (1) the warrant violated Fed. R. Crim. P. 41, which generally limits a federal magistrate judge’s warrant-issuing authority to the district where he or she sits; and (2) Krueger established that he was prejudiced by the Rule 41 violation. On appeal, the Government argued that reversal was necessary because the district court applied the wrong legal standard in determining that Krueger established prejudice. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the suppression order.