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United States v. Maclin

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

June 4, 2019

JACOB L. MACLIN, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER


         Defendant Jacob Maclin asks this Court to suppress evidence found at his residence, in a Dropbox account and to suppress certain statements he made to authorities. (Doc. 10). Because investigators did not violate either of Defendant's Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights, the Court DENIES Defendant's Motion without a hearing.


         Onset of the Investigation

         In December of 2017, Homeland Security Investigators (“HSI”) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania arrested an individual by the name of “Dubois.” HSI arrested Dubois for Traveling to Meet a Minor. A subsequent investigation into Dubois revealed he engaged in various chats on KIK Messenger (“KIK”).[1] One such conversation involved the user “curiousdude4321.” Dubois's KIK chat history also reflected a shared access to a Dropbox[2]account associated with the email address “”.

         On December 26, 2017, investigators sent a formal request to Dropbox, Inc. to preserve all records and files relating to the account. Pittsburgh HSI also issued a summons to Dropbox, Inc. for account and IP log information related to the same account. The information Dropbox provided in response included a single account login from IP address on January 1, 2018. Additionally, the response provided a User ID ending in 8145.

         Investigators also sent a summons to KIK regarding the subscriber information for curiousdude4321. KIK responded on January 5, 2018 with the information, including IP login information for the account from December 7, 2017 through January 1, 2018. Sixty out of sixty-five logins utilized IP address, the same IP address that logged into the Dropbox account. This IP address was assigned to an AT&T U-Verse customer in northeastern Ohio. The remaining IP addresses were assigned to Verizon Wireless.

         Cleveland Investigation

         On January 11, 2018, HSI Pittsburgh referred the investigation to the HSI Cleveland office. On January 23, 2018, Cleveland investigators issued two summonses. The first they sent to AT&T for user information related to the IP address, the IP address used to access both KIK and Dropbox. AT&T responded on January 30, 2018, indicating that the customer was Langston Maclin with an address of XXXX Baintree Road, University Heights, Ohio 44118. Public records confirmed Mr. Maclin owns the Baintree residence.

         The second summons investigators sent was to Verizon Wireless for the other five IP addresses used to access the KIK account. The only common phone number to access the different IP addresses during the relevant times was (216) 906-****. This phone number was associated with an account in the name of Mr. Maclin.

         A review of public records indicated that Defendant, Mr. Maclin's son, also resided at the Baintree residence. Investigators compared KIK communications, state records and Facebook information to confirm curiousdude4321 was likely Defendant. They based this determination on the fact that curiousdude4321 claimed his age to be 23, the same as Defendant. It is also based on images posted on KIK that resemble Defendant's Facebook pictures.

         Search of Baintree Residence

         Based on the above, Special Agent Michael Deterling applied for a Search Warrant of the Baintree residence. Magistrate Judge David Ruiz granted the Search Warrant on April 13, 2018. On April 17, 2018, law enforcement from three different agencies executed the Search Warrant. Authorities found Defendant home alone. They removed Defendant and took him to a mobile forensic lab parked in front of the residence for an interview. Investigators informed Defendant he was not under arrest, he did not have to answer any questions and he could leave at any time. Despite these options, Defendant chose to stay and answer questions. During the interview, Defendant admitted to using KIK and viewing child pornography.

         Search of Dropbox Account

         On April 13, 2018, Agent Deterling applied for a Search Warrant to review the contents of the account. Specifically, Agent Deterling stated “[t]he property to be searched is the Dropbox user account(s) and content associated with the following email address:” (emphasis added). The Magistrate Judge granted the Search Warrant.

         On April 30, 2018 Dropbox responded. Dropbox provided information related to a User Account ending in 7676. There was no content associated with this account. Agent Deterling noticed an error in Dropbox's production as the account provided did not correspond with the information previously preserved and supplied to Pittsburgh HSI. Deterling followed up with Dropbox and requested information associated with Dropbox User Account ending 8145.

         On May 2, 2018, Dropbox responded. Dropbox indicated the Deterling was correct and that two separate User Accounts were registered to Dropbox provided content associated with User Account 8145 the next day. An analysis indicated that the account contained approximately 1136 images and 79 video files showing the sexual exploitation of minors.

         On September 26, 2018, the Grand Jury indicted Defendant with one count of Receipt and Distribution of Visual Depictions of Real Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2); and one count of Possession of Child Pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5)(B). Defendant moved to suppress the evidence recovered from his residence, from Dropbox and his statements made to authorities on February 26, 2019. (Doc. 10). The Government opposed on March 12, 2019. (Doc. 12).

         II. LAW & ANALYSIS

         A. Standard of Review

         The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violation, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing ...

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