United States v. Huart, No. 13-2075 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
In 2008 Huart pled guilty to possessing child pornography, and was sentenced to 65 months. In 2011, he was transferred to a private halfway house that contracts with the Bureau of Prisons. Rules provided to Huart included one that “[d]uring intake, all belongings will be searched and inventoried. Any new items brought into the facility or removed from the facility will be reported to staff so the inventory can be adjusted.” Huart was not permitted to possess a cell phone. Rules governing inmates who were allowed to have cell phones specified that “ANY STAFF may request at ANY TIME to view the contents of [an inmate’s] cell phone with or without reason.” Huart signed “Conditions of Residential Community Programs,” which stated that he was subject to frequent searches of his living area by staff. An employee conducting a random search of Huart’s room found a cell phone on his bed. A house director discovered 214 images, including child pornography. Huart admitted to possessing the phone and the images. The FBI obtained a search warrant, but thel phone was passcode protected and had to be sent to FBI Headquarters. Agents did not unlock the phone until February 14, 2012; the warrant specified that the search was to be conducted before December 15, 2011. The district court denied motions to suppress, finding that Huart did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy and that the search of his phone was conducted properly under the warrant. Huart pleaded guilty, but he reserved his right to appeal the denial of his suppression motions. The Seventh Circuit affirmed.