In a recent appeals court opinion in an Arizona child sex crimes case, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his convictions and sentences for ten counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, class two felonies, and dangerous crimes against children. In the appeal, the defendant argued that his motions to suppress evidence were improperly denied by the trial court. The appeals court affirmed the trial court decision, finding that the files searched by law enforcement did not need to be limited to the certain files named by the defendant and that there was probable cause for the search of the defendant’s desktop computer. Subsequently, the appeals court ruled that the defendant did not show that the denial of his motion to suppress was not an abuse of discretion.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, in February of 2015, the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce (ICAC) obtained some downloads of child pornography from an internet protocol (“IP”) address that used a peer-to-peer network program called Torrent. After further investigation, a detective of the ICAC learned that the IP address was assigned to a residence in Mesa, AZ. The detective then obtained a search warrant for the home in question.
A search of the home did not produce evidence of illegal activity, but when officers asked the homeowner whether anyone else had access to his home’s secured Wi-Fi connection, he explained that his cousin, the defendant, had stayed with him in February of 2015. The detective then orchestrated a call between the homeowner and the defendant. On the call, the defendant claimed that a virus on his computer had downloaded the illegal images and he had not deleted them as he should have.