Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Trader: No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Email/IP Addresses Post-Carpenter

In United States v. Trader, No. 17-15611 (Nov. 25, 2020) (William Pryor, Hull, Marcus), the Court affirmed the defendant’s enticement conviction and life sentence.

First, the Court held that the Supreme Court’s decision in Carpenter did not establish a reasonable expectation of privacy in email addresses or IP addresses.  The Court held that the third-party doctrine applied because the defendant affirmatively and voluntarily conveyed that information when he downloaded and used an app.  The Court rejected the defendant’s argument that email and IP addresses are akin to cell phone or location records, as neither directly records an individual’s location and is only incidentally associated with cell phones.

Second, the Court held that, based on the totality of the circumstances, the warrant application established probable cause to believe that the defendant’s home contained evidence of a crime.

Third, the Court held that the life sentence was not substantively unreasonable.  The Court rejected the defendant’s argument that the district court gave too much weight to the guidelines and too little weight to his redeeming qualities.