United States v. Ulbricht, No. 15-1815 (2d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Collecting IP address information devoid of content is constitutionally indistinguishable from the use of a pen register. The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for drug trafficking charges and other crimes related to his creation and operation of an online marketplace known as Silk Road. The court affirmed the denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Where, as here, the government did not access the contents of any of defendant's communications, it did not need to obtain a warrant to collect IP address routing information in which defendant did not have a legitimate privacy interest. Therefore, the court rejected defendant's contention that the issuance of such pen/trap orders violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The court explained that it saw no constitutional difference between monitoring home phone dialing information and IP address routing data. Furthermore, the Laptop Warrant, as well as the Google and Facebook Warrants, did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Finally, the court rejected defendant's numerous claims of evidentiary errors, and concluded that defendant's life sentence was not procedurally and substantively unreasonable.