United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
J. McConnell, Jr. United States District Judge.
Court resumes this diptych of motions to suppress where it
left off at the end of part one. ECF No. 40.
the discovery of child pornography on Jason Boudreau's
cell phone, the Department of Homeland Security sought and
obtained a warrant for Mr. Boudreau's arrest. The next
day, agents unsuccessfully tried to execute the arrest
warrant at Mr. Boudreau's residence. What followed was a
series of unsuccessful attempts by the agents to gain contact
with Mr. Boudreau. Ultimately, the agents returned to Mr.
Boudreau's residence and learned that he had sent a
string of suicidal texts to his roommate. The roommate
allowed the agents to review the texts on the roommate's
phone, which included, for example, references to imminent
death: "All my problems end. This lonely miserable life
ends. Years of prison is worse than death." And other
texts depicted Mr. Boudreau's bleak outlook on life:
"I'm better off in the ground." In addition to
the texts to his roommate, the agents learned that Mr.
Boudreau also supposedly contacted his ex-wife, who said that
Mr. Boudreau may be a danger to himself.
concern for Mr. Boudreau's well-being grew, a Rhode
Island State Police detective submitted a GPS/Ping Emergency
Request to Sprint, depicting Mr. Boudreau's suicide risk.
Through the use of the GPS ping, the agents successfully
located Mr. Boudreau at a bar in Branford, Connecticut. Upon
locating Mr. Boudreau, the agents, along with local police,
arrested Mr. Boudreau and seized his cell phone. That cell
phone contained evidence of child pornography.
accounts of the arrest, however, have surfaced, differing in
only one material way. For his part, Mr. Boudreau claims that
the agents searched his cell phone when they arrested him.
The agents, on the other hand, maintain that they merely
seized his cell phone and did not conduct a search. Both
agents have submitted affidavits to that effect, but Mr.
Boudreau has only asserted this allegation in his brief.
Boudreau asserts two grounds for suppression: (1) the
warrantless pinging of his cell phone and (2) the warrantless
search of his cell phone.
Court begins with the warrantless ping of Mr. Boudreau's
cell phone. Both Mr. Boudreau and the government extensively
briefed the issue of whether an individual has Fourth
Amendment rights to cell site location information. The Court
does not, however, need, to resort to settling this dispute
because these facts present a clear case of exigent
circumstances-namely, the emergency aid
of course, anyone's guess whether Mr. Boudreau actually
intended to commit suicide, but that is not the point and
thankfully not the inquiry. Instead, the Court asks whether
"there is [a] reasonable belief that 'swift action
is required to safeguard life or prevent serious
harm."' United States v. Infante, 701 F.3d
386, 392 (1st Cir. 2012) (quoting United States v.
Martins, 413 F.3d 139, 147 (1st Cir. 2005)). Here, the
facts are replete with evidence approximating probable cause.
Boudreau was convicted previously of second degree
molestation and possession of child pornography and was on
probation. Following the search of Mr, Boudreau's
residence, authorities discovered child pornography on his
digital media. Mr. Boudreau knew of this-that is, that his
arrest was impending-and sent a slew of suicidal texts to his
roommate. In these texts, Mr. Boudreau remarked, "This
lonely miserable life ends, " after his roommate pleaded
with him, saying that he cannot let his friends die.
Furthermore, Mr. Boudreau acknowledged that prison was
impending and despairingly wrote that "prison is worse
than death." In short, Mr. Boudreau's life altering
position coupled with his flurry of texts supplied probable
cause in spades. When an individual facing arrest on child
pornography charges sends texts alluding to suicide, those
messages-though they may be a cry for help, a serious threat,
or just blowing off steam-should be treated as serious
threats. Therefore, the agents were presented with exigent
circumstances justifying the GPS ping: ensuring Mr.
the GPS ping out of the way, the only remaining basis for
suppression is the supposed warrantless search of Mr.
Boudreau's cell phone. On this point, the Court need not
venture into the law, as Mr. Boudreau's argument suffers
a fatal factual flaw. That flaw is that no warrantless search
of Mr. Boudreau's cell phone occurred, or at least
nothing in the record gives the Court cause to believe that
one occurred. The two agents that seized Mr. Boudreau's
cell phone during his arrest submitted affidavits declaring
that they seized the cell phone but did not search it.
Afterwards, a search warrant was, in fact, obtained for the
cell phone. Mr. Boudreau has not provided any support to
counteract the government's evidence. Accordingly, the
Court finds that a warrantless search did not occur.
reasons stated herein, Mr. Boudreau's Motion to Suppress
(ECF No. 43) is DENIED.