United States District Court, D. Arizona
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
HONORABLE D. THOMAS FERRARO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Michael Huntoon's (Huntoon)
motions to suppress evidence (Docs. 66, 89, and 97) on
referral by order of the Honorable David C. Bury, United
States District Judge, pursuant to LRCrim 5.1 (Doc. 96). The
government responded to Huntoon's motions (Docs. 79, 100,
and 102). These matters came before Magistrate Judge Ferraro
for hearing on March 15 and 20, 2018. (Docs. 108 and 114.)
Neither the government nor Huntoon offered live testimony.
Instead, both parties submitted exhibits for the Court to
consider. As explained below, the Magistrate Judge recommends
that the District Court, after its independent review, deny
the motions (Docs. 66, 89, and 97).
relevant facts are not in dispute. This case involves child
pornography distribution using peer to peer file sharing
(P2P) software over the Internet. P2P file sharing is a
method of communication available to Internet users through
publically available software. Computers linked together
through the Internet using this software form a network. The
P2P network enables its users to share designated files from
their computer with anyone using compatible P2P software on
the Internet worldwide.
Huntoon was investigated by three different law enforcement
agencies for sharing child pornography over the Internet via
a P2P network; two municipal police departments within the
State of Arizona and the Department of Homeland Security. All
three investigations began after law enforcement officers,
who at different times, discovered that child pornography was
being shared on a P2P network believed to originate from
Huntoon's computer. While State officers quickly
discovered each other's investigation, the federal agents
were unaware of the State investigations until a federal
search warrant was executed at Huntoon's last known
address. During the execution of this warrant, Huntoon's
father told the federal agents his son was in State custody
on State child pornography charges. The federal agents then
discovered that Huntoon had been arrested after police found
child pornography on his laptop that was seized pursuant to a
State search warrant.
federal search resulted in the seizure of numerous items
including a USB flash drive and a Lenovo computer
tower. Huntoon is charged in a two count
indictment with distribution of child pornography and
knowingly accessing child pornography. (Doc. 1.) The
indictment is based on the child pornography found on the USB
flash drive (Count Two) and the child pornography that
federal agents discovered was being shared by Huntoon over
the Internet (Count One).
two years after the execution of the State search warrant and
on the eve of the federal trial, State officers provided a
mirror image of Huntoon's laptop to federal agents.
Without first obtaining a search warrant, federal agents
examined the laptop for the purpose of providing trial
testimony concerning the child pornography charged in the
federal indictment. The warrantless search indeed revealed
that many of the images found during the examination appeared
to be the images shared by Huntoon on the P2P network alleged
in Count One.
moves to suppress all evidence found on the laptop seized in
the State search. Huntoon asserts this search warrant lacked
probable cause and was supported by knowingly false
information. Huntoon also argues the recent examination of
the mirror image of his laptop by federal agents is
presumptively unreasonable because they did not get a search
affidavit supporting the State search warrant, the affiant,
Detective Frank Angel (Angel), Phoenix Police Department,
describes P2P networks, file sharing and other technical
aspects of his investigation. He then describes how he began
his investigation using a law enforcement version of P2P
software to obtain images of child pornography being publicly
shared by the defendant over a P2P network. The affidavit
describes the names and titles of the images he viewed and
provided a description, which clearly showed the images and
videos depicted the sexual exploitation of minors.
Det. Angel's preliminary investigation of IP address
associated with the child pornography, he discovered
Detective William McDonald, Chandler Police Department, was
also investigating the same IP address. According to the
affidavit, Det. McDonald had obtained many of the same images
Det. Angel had. Det. Angel took over the investigation
because he was a member of the AZICAC Task Force, which included
the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, where the IP address
was believed to be located.
to the affidavit, Det. Angel learned that Huntoon, a
registered sex offender, was living in a 5th wheel
recreational vehicle next to a home at 1404 S. Smythe Drive,
Apache Junction, Arizona. He also learned Huntoon had access
to the Internet from that address. On October 27, 2015, Det.
Angel obtained a state search warrant for the premises at
1404 S. Smythe Drive and the 5th wheel recreational vehicle
parked on the property. The search warrant was executed on
October 29, 2015, and items of evidentiary value were seized,
including the laptop computer that is the subject of
Defendant's motion to suppress.
moves for an evidentiary hearing pursuant to Franks v.
Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978), arguing Det. Angel, the
affiant, made a knowingly false statement concerning how
Huntoon acquired Internet access. Here, the affidavit
describes how Det. Angel learned that Huntoon had access to
the IP address located at 1404 S. Smythe Drive, as follows:
Detective Southwick went to 1404 S. Smythe Drive and verified
that Cheryl Friederich along with two minor children under
CPS care reside at 1404 S. Smythe Drive. Cheryl Friederich
told Detective Southwick that her mailing address is 1404 S.
Cedar Drive but she and the two children reside in 1404 S.
Smythe Dr. She further told Detective Southwick that Michael
Huntoon and his wife Courtney reside in the 5th wheel RV
parked on the property at 1404 S. Smythe Drive. Cheryl told
Detective Southwick that she gets her internet in the home
and that Michael Huntoon uses an Ethernet cable and runs it
from the 5th wheel RV into her home and into the router. This
cable connects Michael's laptop to the internet.
Detective Southwick also met with Michael Huntoon and Michael
stated that he and his wife reside in the 5th wheel at 1404
S. Smythe and he accesses the internet from the Ethernet
cable from ...