United States v. Loera, No. 17-2180 (10th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
While executing a warrant to search defendant Jason Loera’s home for evidence of computer fraud, FBI agents discovered child pornography on four of Loera’s CDs. Despite discovering the pornography, the agents continued their search for evidence of computer fraud: one agent continued to search the CDs that were found to contain some child pornography and a second agent searched other electronic devices belonging to Loera, not including those particular CDs (Search 1). After the agents finished their on-site search, they seized a number of electronic devices that appeared to contain evidence of computer fraud, plus the four CDs that were found to contain child pornography, and then brought the seized items back to their office. One week later, one of the agents reopened the CDs that he knew contained some child pornography so that he could describe a few pornographic images in an affidavit requesting a (second) warrant to search all of the seized electronic devices for child pornography (Search 2). A magistrate judge issued the warrant, and, upon executing it through two searches, the agents found more child pornography. In the subsequent prosecution against him for possessing child pornography, Loera filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized pursuant to each search, arguing that the searches violated the Fourth Amendment. On denial of his motion, Loera pled guilty to receipt of child pornography but preserved his right to appeal that denial. Te Tenth Circuit affirmed the denial of Loera’s motion to suppress, holding, among other things, that the Fourth Amendment did not require police officers to stop executing an electronic search warrant when they discovered evidence of an ongoing crime outside the scope of the warrant, so long as their search remained directed at uncovering evidence specified in that warrant.