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United States v. Manning

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 2, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RYAN ALLEN MANNING, Defendant.

          Melinda A. Williams, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, for plaintiff.

          Reynaldo A. Aligada, Jr., OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL DEFENDER, for defendant.

          ORDER

          Patrick J. Schiltz United States District Judge

         Defendant Ryan Manning is charged with possessing, producing, and attempting to produce child pornography. Manning moved to suppress evidence found when law- enforcement officers searched his home pursuant to a search warrant. Manning also moved to suppress statements that he made to law-enforcement officers during the search. This matter is before the Court on Manning's objection to the November 1, 2018 Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz. Judge Schultz recommends denying Manning's motions to suppress. The Court has conducted a de novo review. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). Based on that review, the Court agrees with Judge Schultz that Manning's suppression motions should be denied, although the Court's reasoning differs somewhat from Judge Schultz's. The Court therefore adopts the R&R to the extent that it is consistent with this order.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court will assume familiarity with the R&R, including its description of the facts. See ECF No. 55 [R&R] at 2-5, 12-14. The challenged search warrant was issued on the basis of an affidavit submitted by Special Agent Dawn Johnson of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (“BCA”). To briefly summarize the contents of that affidavit:

         Omegle is an online social media platform that “randomly pairs users in one-on-one chat sessions where they chat anonymously.” ECF No. 33-1 at 5. Through the use of webcams and microphones, Omegle users may both see and speak to each other. ECF No. 33-1 at 5. Omegle users may also use third-party software to “transmit pre-recorded video.” ECF No. 33-1 at 5. Omegle “automatically captures snapshots from users' webcam video streams” for moderation teams to review. ECF No. 33-1 at 5. If Omegle moderators spot what appears to be child pornography, they forward the relevant snapshots to a “CyberTipline” run by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (“NCMEC”). See ECF No. 33-1 at 4-5. NCMEC analysts “examine and evaluate the content” of CyberTips, add “related information” that might assist law enforcement, and then “provide all information to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.” ECF No. 33-1 at 4.

         In August 2016, the BCA received a CyberTip from NCMEC involving apparent child pornography flagged by Omegle. ECF No. 33-1 at 4. The CyberTip reported that the snapshots came from a user identified as:

ESP User ID: YS7SG2SL
IP Address: 50.188.79.76 (Upload)
07-19-2016 00:33:35 UTC

ECF No. 33-1 at 4. The CyberTip included twelve snapshots of a video stream intercepted by Omegle's moderation team. Agent Johnson (who specializes in investigating “crimes against children” and “crimes related to predatory offenders”) reviewed all twelve snapshots. ECF No. 33-1 at 4-5. Through further investigation and visual surveillance, Agent Johnson traced the Omegle account to Manning. See ECF No. 33-1 at 4-6.

         On December 15, 2016, Agent Johnson applied for a warrant to search Manning's residence, vehicles, and belongings. ECF No. 33-1 at 1-3, 10. As noted, Agent Johnson submitted an affidavit in support of her application. Judge Allen Oleisky issued the warrant the same day. ECF No. 33-1 at 13. The BCA executed the warrant on the following day, ECF No. 55 at 5, and discovered evidence of child pornography. During the search of his home, Manning made several incriminating statements in response to questions asked by Agent Johnson. Manning made those statements after Agent Johnson told him that he was not in custody and not under arrest. Gov't Ex. 1A at 2.[1]

         Manning now moves to suppress both the evidence found during the search of his home and the statements that he made to Agent Johnson.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Motion to ...


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