United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S REVISED MOTIONS TO
SUPPRESS AND FOR A FRANKS HEARING
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Sean
Sullivan's (“Sullivan”) revised motions to
suppress, Dkt. 51, and for a Franks hearing, Dkt.
52. The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support
of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the
file and hereby denies each motion for the reasons stated
indictment in this case charges Sullivan with three counts:
one count of production of child pornography in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 2251(a) and (e); and two counts of
possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 2252(a)(4)(B) and (b)(2). Dkt. 16.
complaint describes the alleged minor victim of the
production count as MV1; Kassandra Jeffers
(“Jeffers”) is MV1's mother. Dkt. 1 at 3-4.
On July 24, 2017, Jeffers took MV1 to the hospital after
seeing nude photographs of MV1 on Sullivan's black LG
smartphone. Id. A nurse at the hospital notified law
enforcement around 8:22 P.M., who interviewed Jeffers
telephonically. Id.; Dkt. 56-3 (Government Ex.
4). Jeffers reported that she viewed Sullivan's
phone the day before and, inside a Google file or folder
labeled “trash, ” discovered four photos of MV1.
Dkt. 1 at 4. Jeffers described the photos as two images
showing MV1 nude on a white toddler bed Jeffers recognized as
belonging to Sullivan, and two images showing MV1 nude next
to Sullivan's erect penis. Id. at 4-5.
25, 2017, Jeffers provided a written statement, id.
at 4, and MV1 underwent a forensic interview. At the forensic
interview, MV1 denied that anyone had taken nude photos of
her or touched her private parts. See Dkt. 65-1. On
July 25, 2017, law enforcement searched Sullivan's
residence, seizing an Alcatel One Touch
(“Alcatel”) cell phone. Sullivan was not present
at the residence during the search, and the black LG phone
was never located. On July 26, 2017, law enforcement arrested
Sullivan, seizing a Motorola G4 Play (“Moto G4”)
cell phone that Sullivan admitted possessing. Dkt. 1 at 5.
During an interview with law enforcement that day, Sullivan
admitted to looking at “nudist” images of naked
children. Dkt. 44-2 at 8.
Cowlitz County District Judge issued four warrants in this
Warrant. The first warrant issued on July 25,
2017. Dkt. 44-1 (“Device Warrant”). The Device
Warrant authorized the search of Sullivan's home, person,
car, LG smartphone, and “any other electronic or
storage device” belonging to Sullivan. Id.
Detective Cory Robinson (“Detective Robinson”) of
the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office prepared the
application for the device warrant. Id. The Device
Warrant summarized the allegations in part as follows:
“ ...Jeffers said approximately two weeks ago Sullivan
asked if he could take [MV1] for the day and they would be
with Sullivan's roommates. Jeffers said she didn't
think anything of it and let Sullivan take [MV1]. Jeffers
said when [MV1] returned, she told Jeffers that they
didn't go to the park or do much of anything. [Redacted]
said she was later around Sullivan's roommates when they
were talking about how Sullivan was making them feel weird
about having their children around him. Jeffers said
yesterday she started to look through Sullivan's pictures
on his cell phone. Jeffers said as she was looking through
his Google photos, she noticed a picture of [MV1] where her
hand was behind her back and she was lifting up her shirt to
expose her stomach. Jeffers said she continued to look
through Sullivan's pictures and found a folder labeled
“trash”. Jeffers said she opened the folder and
started going through the pictures. Jeffers said as she was
going through the pictures, she saw two different photographs
of her daughter completely nude. Jeffers said [MV1] looked
like she was posing in the photographs. Jeffers said she
continued going through the photographs and found four
pictures of her daughter nude. Jeffers said in these pictures
[MV1] was completely nude with her legs around the waist of
Sullivan. Jeffers said Sullivan was also nude and had his
penis on [MV1's] vagina.
Warrant at 6-7.
27, 2017, law enforcement searched the Moto G4 phone seized
from Sullivan during his arrest pursuant to the Device
Warrant. The search of the Moto G4 produced evidence that six
photos had been recently deleted from the folder
“Google Photos/local trash.” Dkt. 44-2 at 10. One
image discovered on the Moto G4 appeared to be child
pornography as recognized by the National Center for Missing
and Exploited Children, id. at 9-10, and one video
downloaded to the phone and entitled “INCEST AMATEURS -
SHOCKING INCEST UPLOADED BY MEMBERS!” showed “a
male subject having intercourse with a young teenage female
of unknown age, ” id. at 10. The Moto G4
search indicated that there were “two Google accounts
associated with the device: Irishlord45@gmail.com
and email@example.com.” Id. at 9.
Alcatel phone was also searched pursuant to the Device
Warrant. There were “no images or videos” located
on the device. Dkt. 59-2 at 2. The Alcatel search indicated
the device was associated with the Google account
firstname.lastname@example.org. Id. After
reviewing the forensic image of the Alcatel phone, Detective
Robinson believed the device “ha[d] seen little day to
day use.” Id.
Warrants. On August 1, 2017, Detective Robinson
prepared affidavits supporting search warrant applications
for the Google accounts associated with the
“email@example.com” email addresses.
See Dkts. 44-2 (“Irishlord45
Affidavit”), 59-1 (“4leafindustries
Affidavit”) (collectively “Google
Warrants”). Except for the identification of the
separate Google accounts, the affidavits supporting the
Google Warrants are identical. In addition to Jeffers's
allegations, the Google Warrants relied in part on the
content obtained from the search of the Moto G4 phone, as
well as Sullivan's July 26, 2017 admission to viewing
nudist images of children. Irishlord45 Affidavit at 8-9;
4leafindustries Affidavit at 8-9.
produced content responsive to the Google Warrants. Analysis
of the “irishlord45” account discovered multiple
images of MV1 with her underwear exposed and/or as the focus
of the image. Id. at 6-7. One image found on the
“irishlord45” account showed a
“prepubescent female lying on her side on a brown and
tan patterned blanket with her pubic area exposed.”
Id. at 3. The child in the image is depicted
“from the neck down to her thighs” and wears
“a white tank top with a sparkly butterfly” and
pajama pants that have been pulled down to expose the
child's pubic area. Id. at 6. MV1's
grandmother viewed this image, identifying the butterfly
shirt worn by the child in the photo as belonging to MV1.
Id. Following the execution of the Google warrants
and the discovery of the above-described content in the
“irishlord45” account, Sullivan
was charged in state court and released to a substance abuse
LG Warrant. In November 2017, following a
report of child pornography found on a cell phone confiscated
at the drug treatment center Sullivan attended, affiant
Detective McNeal of the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office
prepared an affidavit supporting the issuance of the fourth
warrant in this case. Dkt. 45-1 (“Blue LG
Warrant”). The affidavit, which quotes from a report by
responding Deputy Pattinson, reads in part:
I went to DAPC and spoke with Amber Delagrange.
Delagrange is the site manager for this location. Delagrange
said Sean Sullivan entered into their treatment facility on
11-16-17. Delagrange said when each new patient is admitted,
they are advised of the rules of the facility and told that
their belongings can be searched at any time. Delagrange said
that cell phones and other items are prohibited. Delagrange
said it was brought to the attention of the staff that there
was drug paraphernalia in Sullivan's room. Sullivan and
his roommate were sent for UA's and their room was
searched by two employees, Jason Vein and Deeanna Gilman.
Delagrange said during the search a homemade pipe and a cell
phone were located Delagrange said the employees opened the
phone to see if they could identify who it belonged to and
saw images of nude children.
Delagrange provided me with an LG brand smartphone and
said it was the one recovered from Sullivan's room.
Gilman said she entered Sullivan's room to search it with
Vein. Gilman said they lifted up Sullivan's
mattress and located a homemade smoking device and a cell
phone showed Gilman the LG phone and she confirmed it was the
same one they had located. Gilman said the phone was on and
wasn't locked Gilman said Vein looked through the phone
to try and determine who the owner was.
Gilman said Vein looked in the pictures to see if there
was a picture of the owner and found numerous photos of nude
children. Gilman said she saw several of the pictures and
said the pictures were of nude females she believed to be
between the ages of 11-13. Gilman said she has children and
was certain that the nude females in the photos were minors.
Gilman agreed to provide me with a written statement. Prior
to Gilman signing the statement, I went over the perjury
clause at the bottom of the form. Gilman stated she
understood and signed the statement.
Warrant at 5.
McNeal subsequently imaged and searched the LG phone
confiscated from Sullivan at the drug treatment center
pursuant to the Blue LG Warrant. Dkt. 1 at 7-8. “In the
Google Chrome browser history of the phone, Detective McNeal
saw that the search term ‘little nudist girl
sister' had been used.” Id. at 8.
Detective McNeal also identified two images of suspected
child pornography stored on the blue LG phone. Id.
was subsequently indicted by a grand jury sitting in this
district on June 13, 2018. Dkt. 16. Trial is set to commence
May 13, 2019. Dkt. 49.
Motion to Suppress
April 18, 2019, Sullivan filed a revised motion to suppress
challenging the breadth of each warrant issued in this case.
Dkt. 51. On April 19, 2019, the Government responded and
filed a motion for leave to file an overlength response.
Dkts. 54, 59. On April 25, 2019, Sullivan replied. Dkt. 62.
Motion for Franks Hearing
April 18, 2019, Sullivan filed a revised motion for hearing
pursuant to Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 155-56
Id. On April 19, 2019, the Government
responded, Dkt. 56, filed a motion for leave to file an
overlength response, Dkt. 58, moved to seal supporting
exhibit 3 to its response, Dkt. 55, and filed sealed exhibit
3, Dkt. 57. On April 25, 2019, Sullivan filed a motion for
leave to file an overlength reply, Dkt. 63, moved to seal his
reply, Dkt. 64, and filed a sealed reply, Dkt. 65.