United States v. Mays, No. 20-1333 (8th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
After the district court denied defendant's motion to suppress video recordings discovered on his laptop, defendant pleaded guilty conditionally to one count of receiving child pornography and unconditionally to one count of wire fraud.
The Eighth Circuit concluded that probable cause combined with exigent circumstances justified the warrantless seizure of defendant's laptop. In this case, the investigators had probable cause to believe the laptop contained evidence of a crime based on an interview with defendant's uncle; the investigators had an objectively reasonable belief that exigent circumstances demanded the seizure; and the fifteen-day delay between seizure and application for the search warrant was not unreasonable. The court also concluded that, even under de novo review, the district court provided an adequate explanation of defendant's within-guidelines-range sentence. The court further concluded that the district court did not rely on clearly-erroneous facts in setting the sentence. However, the imposition of certain special conditions concerning computer use, contact with persons under the age of 18, and participation in sex-offender treatment are vacated and remanded so that the district court may conduct the requisite "individualized inquiry" and make sufficient findings on the record. Furthermore, the special condition concerning possession of use of sexually oriented materials is also remanded to permit the district court to amend its written judgment to conform to its oral pronouncement at sentencing.