In United States v. Babcock, No. 17-13678 (Newsom, W. Pryor, and Vratil), the Court affirmed the denial of a motion to suppress and the defendant's child pornography sentence.
First, the Court rejected the government's argument that officers were permitted to detain the defendant's cell phone under Terry based on reasonable suspicion that he had committed a crime. The Court concluded that the detention of the phone exceeded the scope of Terry because the officers had detained the phone for two days, it constituted a significant intrusion into a possessory interest, and the officers did not explain why they delayed for two days.
However, the Court concluded that, under the particular facts of the case, the officers had probable cause to believe that the phone contained evidence of a crime and that exigent circumstances—the need to prevent him from deleting the evidence on the phone—allowed them to seize the phone and then subsequently obtain a warrant before searching it.
The Court also affirmed the defendant's sentence. First, reviewing for plain error, the Court rejected the defendant's argument that application of 2G2.1(b)(2) and 4B1.5(b) was impermissible double counting. Second, the Court found that the 324-month sentence, a downward variance, was substantively reasonable.