United States v. Fadiga, No. 16-3870 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
An officer stopped a car for expired license plates. Barry, the driver, did not have registration papers, and professed not to know who owned the car or where he was going. Fadiga, the passenger, replied that “a friend” owned the car and produced a rental agreement. The car’s return was past due; the agreement did not authorize either man to drive the car. When Fadiga opened his wallet to extract his driver’s license, the officer saw multiple plastic cards and sought permission to search the car; both consented. The officer found a bag full of gift cards and requested a card reader. About 30 minutes later the reader arrived and detected that the cards had been tampered with. The Seventh Circuit affirmed Fadiga’s conviction for possession of unauthorized “access devices,” 18 U.S.C. 1029(a)(3), upholding denial of a motion to suppress. The delay between the call and the reader’s arrival was justified by reasonable suspicion that the men possessed doctored gift cards. The court noted that neither man was authorized to drive the car; even without waiting for a reader, the police were entitled to detain them. The court also rejected a discrimination claim. The venire from which the jury was selected comprised 48 persons, none of them black. Defense counsel did not show discrimination in the venire's selection under 28 U.S.C. 1861.