United States v. Lewis, No. 21-1614 (7th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
An FBI informant provided a cell phone number for Lewis, a distributor in a drug-trafficking operation. The government obtained a tracking order under the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. 2703(d). Cell-site location information (CSLI) from Lewis’s cell phone provider showed that his phone was within a 1,099-meter radius of Greenwood, Indiana. From there, officers searched parking lots and hotels where a deal might take place. Officers eventually saw a woman resembling Lewis’s wife enter a room at a hotel, drop off a duffel bag, and drive away in a car registered in Lewis’s name. After a drug-sniffing dog alerted at the room, officers obtained a search warrant. The team executed the warrant the same day. Inside the room, officers found Lewis, $2 million in cash, and 19.8 kilograms of cocaine.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed Lewis’s conviction for possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. The court rejected his arguments that the dog sniff violated his reasonable expectation of privacy or, in the alternative, that the application for the section 2703(d) order lacked probable cause. Lewis lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy in the hotel's exterior hallway, where the dog sniff occurred. Regardless of whether the government’s use of real-time CSLI amounted to a search, the good-faith exception applies.