United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. Casper, United States District Judge.
Hanford Chiu (“Chiu”) has moved to suppress the
evidence seized from the search of his residence, conducted
pursuant to a warrant obtained on August 22, 2018. D. 69.
Having considered the motion (and supporting memorandum and
exhibits), D. 69-70, 77, the government's opposition, D.
75, and having heard oral argument on the motion, D. 78, the
Court DENIES the motion. Accordingly, the Court makes its
findings of fact and legal analysis below.
Findings of Fact
The Iannaccone Affidavit
Agent Joseph Iannaccone (“Iannaccone”) is
employed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(“DHS”) and had been so employed since 2009. D.
70-1 at 14. Iannaccone had experience with investigations of
crimes involving high technology or cybercrime, child
exploitation and child pornography. Id.
August 21, 2018, Iannaccone interviewed Warren Anderson
(“Anderson”) in connection with Anderson's
admission of possession, receipt and distribution of child
pornography. Id. at 15. During Anderson's
interviews, he told agents that he knew Chiu and that Chiu
“shared [Anderson's] interest in child
pornography.” Id. Anderson told agents that he
and Chiu met up approximately once a week, including at
Chiu's residence, and would view child pornography during
approximately a quarter of those occasions. Id. at
15-16. Anderson described Chiu's residence as well as
Chiu's computer (a “custom-built desktop
computer”), which they used to view child pornography.
Id. at 16. Anderson also referenced a specific
website that he and Chiu visited that was known to law
enforcement to be dedicated to the exchange of child
pornography. Id. Anderson informed agents that on
August 19, 2018, the most recent meeting between Anderson and
Chiu, he and Chiu had viewed child pornography videos in
Chiu's residence, including videos which included
depictions of “boys as young as 10 years old involved
in sexual conduct.” Id. Anderson defined child
pornography as involving children under 18. Id. at
16 n.2. Anderson said he believed Chiu's child
pornography collection was approximately 80 gigabytes worth
of data. Id. at 16. Anderson also told agents that
Chiu was a lawyer. Id. Agents searched
Anderson's vehicle and located Chiu's business card
giving the name of a law office in Brighton, MA, and
confirmed through the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers
website that Chiu was registered as an attorney in
Massachusetts having passed the bar in 2015. Id. at
provided background information on characteristics common to
consumers of child pornography based on his training and
experience as well as information on the search and seizure
of computer systems and data. Id. at 17-22.
Iannaccone attached a description and photograph of
Chiu's residence to the affidavit. Id. at 23
(Attachment A). He also included a list of items to be
seized, including records and tangible objects relating to
child pornography and communications about the sexual
exploitation of children and any computer hardware, software,
documentation or storage media that might contain evidence,
fruits or instrumentalities relating to child pornography.
Id. at 24-25 (Attachment B).
Search of Chiu's Residence
August 22, 2018, Magistrate Judge Cabell granted the search
warrant for Chiu's residence to search and seize the
items specified in Attachment B. Id. at 1. DHS
agents executed the warrant that same day. D. 3-1 at 2.
Agents seized a custom-built desktop computer, three
removable storage drives, a laptop, a Samsung cell phone, an
Apple iPhone, an Amazon Echo and a tablet computer.
Id. While on scene, agents conducted a forensic
preview of the desktop computer and its three hard drives.
Id. During that preview, agents observed filed that
they believed to contain child pornography. Id.
Agents arrested Chiu on August 22, 2018 on charges of receipt
and possession of child pornography. D. 3.
Probable Cause Standard
Fourth Amendment requires probable cause for the issuance of
a search warrant. Whiteley v. Warden, 401 U.S. 560,
564 (1971). This standard requires a showing of “a
probability or substantial chance of criminal activity, not
an actual showing of such activity.” Illinois v.
Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 243 n.13 (1983). Sufficient
information must be presented to the magistrate issuing such
a warrant to allow her to determine independently whether
probable cause exists. Id. at 239. In reviewing the
adequacy of probable cause for a warrant, a reviewing court
is “tasked with making a judgment based on what appears
within the four corners of the affidavit.” United
States v. Tanguay, 787 F.3d 44, 53 (1st Cir. 2015). It
is well settled that there is A>a presumption of validity
with respect to the affidavit supporting the search
warrant.'" United States v. Tzannos, 460
F.3d 128, 136 (1st Cir. 2006) (quoting Franks
v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 171 (1978)). Accordingly, a
reviewing court should give “great deference” to
the magistrate's determination of probable cause.
Spinelli v. United States, 393 U.S. 410, 419 (1969).
defendant challenges the legality of a search conducted
pursuant to a search warrant, he bears the burden of showing
by a preponderance of the evidence that the search was
unlawful. United States. v. Legault, 323 F.Supp.2d
217, 220 (D. Mass. 2004); see United States v.
Burdulis, No. 10-40003, 2011 WL 1898941, at *3 (D. Mass.
May 19, 2011) (citing cases). The issue for the reviewing
court is whether "the totality of the
circumstances" in the affidavit afforded the clerk
magistrate a "substantial basis for determining the
existence of probable cause" for the search.
Gates, 462 U.S. at 238. A reviewing court "must
examine the affidavit in a practical, commonsense
fashion" and "accord considerable deference to a
magistrate's determination that ...