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United States v. Loera, 923 F.3d 907 (10th Cir. May 13, 2019)

May 13, 2019

While executing a search warrant for evidence of computer fraud, federal agents discovered child pornography on certain disks in the defendant’s home. Setting those disks aside, the agents continued their search for evidence of computer fraud.  The Tenth Circuit affirmed denial of the defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence of child pornography, holding that law enforcement need not stop a lawful search when evidence of crimes outside the scope of the warrant is discovered, so long as the search continues only to fulfill the original purpose of the warrant.  However, the court also held that the agents unreasonably exceeded the scope of the original warrant when they later reviewed the seized disks to prepare a second warrant to search for more child pornography.  That second search, although unlawful, was nevertheless upheld under the inevitable discovery doctrine.