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United States of America v. Jeremy Noyes

December 8, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JEREMY NOYES



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McLAUGHLIN, Sean J., District J.,

MEMORANDUM OPINION

In this criminal matter, the Defendant, Jeremy Noyes, is charged with one count each of transporting, receiving, and possessing material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and one count of transporting obscene matter. The evidence giving rise to these charges was obtained as the result of searches that were conducted of Noyes' email accounts, residence, and thumb nail drive. Each search was conducted pursuant to a warrant obtained by Special Agent Tom Brenneis of the FBI.

Presently pending before me in the above-captioned matter is the Defendant's motion to suppress the fruits of these searches. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to

18 U.S.C. §3231. For the reasons set forth below, the motion to suppress will be denied.

I.BACKGROUND

A. The Search of the Yahoo!, Inc. and Google Accounts

The first two challenged warrants authorized searches of, respectively, Noyes' Yahoo!,

Inc. and Google e-mail accounts for evidence, fruits, or instrumentalities of violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252 and 2422. Agent Brenneis' applications for these two warrants were submitted contemporaneously to Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter and were signed by her on July 31, 2008.

The "Yahoo Warrant," as we shall refer to it, sought permission to search "a Yahoo!, Inc. account controlled by and using the e-mail address 'jeremy_noyes@yahoo.com,'" located in the Northern District of California. A document designated "Attachment A," which was attached to and incorporated into the warrant by reference, designated the items to be seized from this account, to wit:

1. All opened, unopened, deleted, sent, received and draft e-mail, e-mail attachments, residing in the Yahoo e-mail account using the e-mail address "jeremy_noyes@yahoo.com";

2. Any and all account records for the Yahoo E-mail account using the e-mail address "jeremy_noyes@yahoo.com", including subscriber information, such as name and address, date of birth, gender, date account created, account status, registration from IP, alterante [sic] e-mail addresses, log-in IP addresses associated with session times and dates, complaints and service information;

3. Favorite or bookmarked websites and buddy lists contained within the Yahoo e-mail account using the e-mail address "jeremy_noyes@yahoo.com";

4. Any records of passwords, login names, dates, times and activity associated with the Yahoo e-mail account using the e-mail address "jeremy_noyes@yahoo.com".

In the Matter of Search of Yahoo!, Inc. Account Controlled By and Using the E-mail Address "jeremy_noyes@yahoo.com," Case No. 1:08-mj-42-SPB-1 (W.D. Pa.) (hereinafter the "Yahoo Warrant") (Doc. No. [2] at p. 2.).

The second warrant, which we shall refer to as the "Google Warrant," sought authority to search "a Google account controlled by and using the e-mail address 'jeremynoyes@gmail.com.'" Like the Yahoo Warrant, the Google Warrant indicated that the target e-mail account was located in the Northern District of California. Moreover, like the Yahoo Warrant, the Google Warrant incorporated by reference an "Attachment A," which listed the items to be seized from the account. These items were essentially identical to those listed in Attachment A to the Yahoo Warrant, except that they referenced the e-mail address "jeremynoyes@gmail.com" rather than the e-mail address "jeremy_noyes@yahoo.com." The one other notable feature of the Google Warrant is that its Attachment A mistakenly uses the phrase "Yahoo e-mail account" in place of the phrase "Google e-mail account" in reference to items 2 through 4, such that the list of items to be seized in the Google Warrant, as set forth in Attachment A, reads as follows:

1. All opened, unopened, deleted, sent, received and draft e-mail, e-mail attachments, residing in the Google account using the e-mail address "jeremynoyes@gmail.com";

2. Any and all account records for the Yahoo E-mail account using the e-mail address "jeremynoyes@gmail.com", including subscriber information, such as name and address, date of birth, gender, date account created, account status, registration from IP, alterante [sic] e-mail addresses, log-in IP addresses associated with session times and dates, complaints and service information;

3. Favorite or bookmarked websites and buddy lists contained within the Yahoo e-mail account using the e-mail address "jeremynoyes@gmail.com";

4. Any records of passwords, login names, dates, times and activity associated with the Yahoo e-mail account using the e-mail address "jeremynoyes@gmail.com".

In the Matter of Search of Google Account Controlled By and Using the E-mail Address "jeremynoyes@gmail.com," Case No. 1:08-mj-43-SPB-1 (W.D. Pa.) (hereinafter "Google Warrant") (Doc. No. [2] at p. 2.).

Identical sworn affidavits (referred to hereinafter as the "July 31, 2008 Affidavit of Probable Cause" or "APC-1") were submitted by Special Agent Brenneis in support of the Yahoo and Google Warrants.*fn1 This affidavit asserted that there was probable cause to believe that a search of the aforementioned accounts would yield evidence, fruits, or instrumentalities of criminal activity, specifically violations of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B),*fn2 pertaining to the possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors, and 18 U.S.C. § 2422(a),*fn3 pertaining to the persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion of individuals to travel in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual activity. (See APC-1 at ¶¶2 and 4(a)(-b).)*fn4

In support of this assertion of probable cause, APC-1 stated that, on June 29, 2008, the Erie FBI office had received information from headquarters concerning an anonymous complaint which had been submitted on the FBI webpage two days earlier by an individual using the fictitious name "Sally Ann Slokum." (APC-1 at ¶ 13.) Specifically, Slokum had reported that a person by the name of Jeremy Noyes, 723 Brown Avenue, Erie, Pennsylvania, was attempting, via the internet, to obtain a four year-old female, named Abby, and her mother Alex, as sex slaves. Slokum had indicated that Alex was originally from West Virginia but was now living with her daughter in New Zealand. (Id.) According to Slokum, Alex and Abby were supposed to travel to Erie, Pennsylvania from New Zealand in April of 2008 but had been delayed by immigration issues and the selling of their house. (Id.) Included in APC-1 was a direct quote from Slokum's complaint, which read as follows:

Jeremy Noyes of 723 Brown Ave in Erie, PA is attempting to obtain a 4 year old female sex slave over the Internet. He is arranging this with the girl=s (sic) mother, who is also to be his sex slave. The woman also gave birth within the last week and the baby is also to be his slave. He has been instructing the woman on how to train the girl including bondage, vaginal and anal dilation, having the girl drink her own urine so she can be a toilet slave, exposing her to pornographic training tapes while masturbating her, and extreme punishments such as locking her in a closet with no food for three days.

(APC-1 ¶ 14.)

The information provided by "Sally Ann Slokum" also indicated that Noyes was in possession of a collection of child pornography and that he had used the website "www.collarme.com," the same website through which he had found Alex, to make contact with other individuals in the United States who are interested in the bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism lifestyle. (APC-1 at ¶ 15.) APC-1 quoted Slokum's complaint as having stated:

Noyes has threatened to kill me and my family so I am not putting my real name on here because he definately (sic) will not rest until we are dead. All the evidence you need is in his computer and that little girl's mind. Please save her.

(APC-1 at ¶ 16.)*fn5

According to APC-1, on July 16, 2008 Agent Brenneis conducted a search on the Internet search engine Google for information about Jeremy Noyes. (APC-1 at ¶ 16.)*fn6 The search revealed a listing for a blog hosted by someone using the name "borderlinegrrl" [sic]. (Id.) Upon reviewing the blog, Agent Brenneis discovered an entry matching some of the exact verbiage provided by "Sally Ann Slokum" to the FBI as set forth in APC-1 and recited above. (Id.) Other postings on the blog referred to the author as being a classmate of Jeremy Noyes at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine ("LECOM"). (Id.) In another entry the author of the blog referred to herself as "Libby." (Id.) A check of the current roster of medical students at LECOM revealed that a Jeremy Noyes and an Elizabeth Fleming were both currently attending there. Agent Brenneis then obtained contact information for both of these individuals from LECOM. (Id.)

Agent Brenneis contacted Elizabeth Fleming on July 21, 2008, at which time she admitted having provided the tip to the FBI under the name "Sally Ann Slokum." (APC-1 at ΒΆ17.) Ms. Fleming also revealed that she had begun dating Noyes in January 2008 after posting an ad on the bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism website "www.collarme.com." (Id.) She stated that, thereafter, she had developed a ...


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