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United States v. Seitter

United States District Court, D. Kansas

October 10, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff,
Marshall Seitter, Defendant.



         The Indictment charges defendant Marshall Seitter with possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5)(B) and (b)(2). The matter is before the court on three motions to suppress evidence (Dkt. 26-28) obtained from Seitter at the time he was interviewed at his workplace, a conversation which occurred while officers were attempting to execute a search warrant for Seitter's home.

         Law enforcement officers spoke with Seitter on September 1, 2016 as a consequence of an investigation which was originally launched in October of 2015. At that time, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents found that a hyperlink to images of child pornography had been posted to an anonymous network. The agents were able to determine that the hyperlink was posted by a VIP user of the bulletin board, and obtained the IP addresses of users accessing the child pornography content through the hyperlink. One such IP address returned to the residence of defendant Marshall Seitter.

         HSI agents in Wichita acted on the lead in July 2016, confirming that Seitter was the sole occupant of his residence. They also determined that there were no unsecured wireless connections at the residence.

         On September 1, agents attempted to execute a search warrant at the residence. Seitter was not home. Special Agent Rick Moore of HSI and Detective Ray Alverson of the Wichita Police Department went to Seitter's workplace at the United States Post Office to ask for a house key. The investigators were at the Post Office for about ten minutes.

         At noon, while waiting for management to locate Seitter, Moore and Alverson saw him using his phone out on the sidewalk. They approached him, identified themselves, and told him they were conducting a child pornography investigation and had a search warrant for his home.

         Seeing Seitter handling his phone, Agent Moore asked if he would turn it over, in order prevent the destruction of evidence. Seitter agreed, and gave them his Model A1522 iPhone.

         The officers asked if Seitter would like to speak with them at the Sedgwick County Child Advocacy Center (CAC). He agreed. Alverson also asked Seitter if he had any electronic devices in his car, a 2001 Ford Mustang. Seitter said, “not in the car, ” but that he had a tablet at his workstation inside.

         The officers then asked Seitter if he would consent to a search of the Mustang, and Seitter agreed. At 12:03 PM, just a few minutes after the initial approach, Seitter completed a “Waiver to Search” form which advised him of his “right to refuse to consent to a search” and stated that “I understand the permission can be revoked at any time.”

         Moore took Seitter's keys to both his vehicle and his residence. A deputy had arrived at the scene, and Seitter sat in the rear of the deputy's patrol vehicle as it sat next to the Mustang. Seitter thus was able to see Moore and Alverson while they searched the Mustang. At the hearing, the government submitted a video recording of Seitter in the back of the patrol car.

         The officers found a cellphone in the arm rest/center console, and a Toshiba 640GB hard drive under the passenger seat. At the time the hard drive was collected, Seitter said something to the effect, "That was from 15 years ago.” This was not in response to any question from law enforcement.

         The search of the car was completed within a few minutes, at roughly 12:10 PM. Seitter was then driven by the deputy to the CAC. Moore and Alverson secured the tablet at Seitter's workstation, delivered the key to investigators waiting at Seitter's residence, and then proceeded to the CAC to interview Seitter.

         At the CAC, Moore repeated introductions, obtained biographical information from Seitter, and asked if he would like to speak about the search warrant. Moore further advised that, if Seitter did want to speak about the warrant, Moore intended to review his Miranda rights with him. At that point, roughly an hour after the initial contact with law enforcement, Seitter asked to speak with an attorney. Moore terminated the interview, returned Seitter's keys, and took Seitter back to the Post Office. Moore told Seitter not to return to his residence until law enforcement had completed their search.

         At the residence, agents seized a Toshiba laptop, an Apple iPod Touch, an 8GB thumb drive, seven CD/DVDs, and other tangible items related to babies, such as diapers, bottles, pacifiers, and baby powder. Forensic analysis of the laptop and iPod Touch seized from Seitter's residence revealed evidence of Seitter's sexual ...

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