County Superior Court
Plaintiff: Owen Murphy, Esq.
Defendant: John E. MacDonald, Esq. Michael J. Zarrella, Esq.
Rodgers, J. JUSTICE
State of Rhode Island (State) has charged Enrique Rodriguez
(Defendant) with one count of possession of child pornography
in violation of G.L. 1956 § 11-9-1.3(a)(4) and one count
of transfer of child pornography in violation of §
11-9-1.3(a)(2). The issues before this Court center on the
issuance of and compliance with an administrative subpoena
directed to Verizon Internet Services (Verizon), an internet
service provider (ISP), seeking the name and address of the
subscriber assigned a particular internet protocol (IP)
address which had been involved in the transfer of child
pornography. Armed with that subscriber information, law
enforcement personnel requested a search warrant for the
computer hardware and software maintained at the home that
Defendant shared with his wife and children. Defendant now
moves this Court to suppress all statements and evidence
obtained pursuant to the execution of that search warrant.
is pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 8-2-15. For the reasons that
follow, Defendant's motion to suppress is denied.
February 2014, Detective Kevin Harris (Det. Harris), a
detective with the Coventry Police Department and a member of
the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task
Force,  was undercover monitoring a peer-to-peer
file-sharing network. On February 28, 2014, Det. Harris
identified and observed an IP address-22.214.171.124-sharing
numerous files of suspected child pornography. Det. Harris
made a direct connection to the IP address and downloaded
several child pornography files. Subsequently, Det. Harris
used the American
of Internet Numbers to determine that Verizon was the owner of
that specific IP address.
Harris' request, Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell (Col.
O'Donnell), Superintendent of the Rhode Island State
Police, issued an administrative subpoena to Verizon Legal
Compliance, dated March 3, 2014, requesting basic information
associated with that IP address. Ex. 2 to Def.'s Mem.,
Admin. Subpoena. Specifically, the administrative subpoena
requested "non-content subscriber information"
including the "name, address, IP address log, and
telephone number" associated with the IP address.
Id. The administrative subpoena directed Verizon to
provide subscriber information that was linked to IP address
126.96.36.199 between 12:00 AM and 11:59 PM on March 1, 2014.
Id. The administrative subpoena informed Verizon
that the Rhode Island State Police were "conducting an
investigation in our state with reference to possible illegal
activity[.]" Id. It was issued by Col.
O'Donnell to Verizon pursuant to G.L. 1956 §
39-2-20.1 and requested that Verizon forward the
information to Det. Harris. The administrative subpoena also
directed Verizon to refrain from notifying the subscriber
about the subpoena "since it would interfere with an
ongoing criminal investigation." Id.
Det. Harris awaited a response from Verizon, Detective
Lieutenant Chris Brooks (Det. Lt. Brooks), a member of the
Woonsocket Police Department and the ICAC Task Force, viewed
the files that Det. Harris downloaded and determined that the
images shared by the IP address constitute child pornography.
March 13, 2014, Verizon responded to the administrative
subpoena and provided the requested information, including
the subscriber's name and address: Yudis Rodriguez, 282
Asylum Street, Woonsocket, Rhode Island 02895. Det. Lt.
Brooks and another member of the ICAC Task Force, Detective
Damien Longo (Det. Longo) of the Rhode Island State Police,
confirmed that Yudis Rodriguez was the owner of 282 Asylum
Street, a single-family home.
March 31, 2014, Det. Lt. Brooks applied for and obtained a
search warrant. The search warrant permitted the search and
seizure of Yudis Rodriguez, her residence, any and all
computer hardware, computer software, computer-related
documentation, records, documents, and material related to
child pornography, as well as passwords or other data
security devices. The search warrant allowed for an on-site
forensic preview and off-site forensic analysis of the seized
April 1, 2014, Det. Lt. Brooks and Det. Longo executed the
search warrant along with several other members of the ICAC
Task Force and two uniformed State Troopers. Upon entering
the residence at 282 Asylum Street, Det. Longo informed Yudis
Rodriguez that they had a search warrant for child
pornography in the home. Yudis Rodriguez's husband,
Enrique Rodriguez (Defendant), her son David Rodriguez, and
her two daughters, ages fourteen and nine, were also in the
home at the time.
Longo first spoke to David Rodriguez individually, who denied
any use of file-sharing software. Next, Det. Longo spoke with
Defendant individually about any use of the file-sharing
software called Ares. Defendant responded that he was familiar
with Ares and had used the software to download music. At
that point, Det. Longo read Defendant his Miranda warnings
and advised him that he was a suspect in a child pornography
investigation. See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436,
456, 467, (1966). In response, Defendant stated that he
understood his rights and acknowledged the same by signing
the rights form.
signing the rights form, Defendant again told Det. Longo that
he installed the Ares software to download music on the
Gateway computer located in the kitchen. Defendant later
stated to Det. Longo that he accidentally downloaded and
viewed child pornography. Defendant added that he told his
wife he accidentally downloaded child pornography when he was
trying to download music. Separately, Yudis Rodriguez
informed Det. Longo that she found child pornography on the
computer and confronted Defendant.
Det. Longo spoke with Defendant, his wife, and son, other
members of law enforcement searched the house. Special Agent
Fred Mitchell, a forensic analyst with the United States
Secret Service, uncovered numerous videos of child
pornography saved to a folder on the Gateway desktop
computer. After this discovery, Det. Longo again spoke with
Defendant about the ongoing investigation, and Defendant
admitted to intentionally downloading and viewing child
pornography. Defendant was placed under arrest and
transported to State Police Headquarters. Officers seized
several pieces of digital media from the home, including a
cell phone, Gateway desktop computer, and two thumb drives.
16, 2014, a forensic examination of the seized evidence
uncovered fourteen videos and over 6000 images considered by
law enforcement to be child pornography. In addition, the
examination confirmed that the Ares peer-to-peer file-sharing
software was used to download those images and videos.
affidavit dated March 8, 2017 and signed and sworn under
penalties of perjury, Yudis Rodriguez stated that Defendant
is her husband. Y. Rodriguez Aff., ¶ 1. She also stated
that while the Verizon subscriber information was in her name
alone, Defendant "assisted in all payments and enjoyed
mutual access to the internet on our household
computer." Id. at ¶ 5.
contractual relationship between a subscriber of Internet
services and Verizon is governed in part by Verizon's
subscribers about the information Verizon collects and
stores, how they use it, and options regarding its uses of
that collected information. See Ex. 1 to Def.'s
Specifically, Verizon collects from its subscribers the
subscriber's name, contact information, driver's
license number, Social Security Number, and payment
information. Id. The policy also states that Verizon
"[s]ervice usage information [such as] call records,
websites visited, wireless location, application and
feature usage, network traffic data, product and
device-specific information and identifiers, service
options [chosen by a subscriber], mobile and device
numbers, video streaming and video packages and usage,
movie rental and purchase data, TV and other video
viewership . . ." Id.
Verizon uses this information "to establish, monitor and
maintain [a subscriber's] account and billing records;
measure credit and payment risk; provide account-related
services; deliver and maintain [a subscriber's] products
and services; help . . . with service-related issues or
questions; manage and protect [Verizon's] networks,
services and users from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful
policy also includes a section dedicated to "Working
together to keep children safe." Id. at
(unnumbered) page 13. Verizon explains that it "must be
vigilant in protecting the safety and privacy of children
online." Id. Within this section, Verizon
"[r]egrettably, there are those who use the Internet to
view, store and distribute child pornography (or who engage
in other types of illegal activity involving children). Child
pornography is subject to severe criminal penalties and using
the Verizon network to view, store or distribute it violates
our service contracts. The Verizon network may not be used by
customers in any manner for the storage, transmission or
dissemination of images containing child pornography and
we will report any instances of such activity of which we
become aware to the appropriate . . . authorities."
Id. (emphasis added).
be required by law to disclose personally identifiable
information to a governmental entity to comply with valid
legal process, such as warrants, court orders or
subpoenas[.]" Id. at (unnumbered) page 5. The
policy explains that this disclosure is "to protect
against fraudulent, malicious, abusive, unauthorized or
unlawful use of [the] subscription to [Verizon's]
products and services and to ...