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United States v. Key

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 14, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DaJuan Key, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued February 6, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 13 CR 726 - Virginia M. Kendall, Judge.

          Before Wood, Chief Judge, and Kanne and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.

          Kanne, Circuit Judge.

         DaJuan Key was convicted by a jury of trafficking a minor across state lines with the intent that the minor engage in prostitution. On appeal, he argues the district court should have suppressed evidence allegedly seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment. He also claims the district court erred when instructing the jury. We conclude that no error occurred, and therefore affirm the judgment of the district court.

         I. Background [*]

         On September 10, 2013, the Romeoville Police Department received a call from a Wisconsin mother. The mother told the officer that her 15-year-old daughter (referred to as April) left Wisconsin with an unknown man and called her from a motel crying and saying she wanted to come home. The Department promptly sent officers to the motel, which the officers knew had a reputation for prostitution and drug problems. Upon arrival at the motel, the officers searched the parking lot for vehicles with Wisconsin license plates and found only one- a rental vehicle. The officers entered the lobby of the motel, and a clerk informed them that there was one guest from Wisconsin. The clerk showed the officers a photocopy of that guest's identification.

         The officers proceeded to the room registered to that guest. When they arrived, the door was propped open. The officers knocked and Key-who matched the identification provided by the clerk-answered. The officers asked Key about the missing 15-year-old female from Wisconsin. Key did not deny knowing her, but said she had gone to a nearby restaurant. The officers then asked if they could check the room for the girl; Key consented.

         Inside the room, the officers saw a tablet on the dresser open to the website backpage.com, which they knew to be commonly used to post prostitution advertisements. They also noticed a large number of prepaid credit cards, used and unused condoms, and multiple cellphones. Dache Crayton, another young woman, was also in the room. When asked for her identification, she said it was in the car. An officer then escorted Crayton to the car, where Crayton told the officer that she and April were prostituting and that Key was their pimp. The officer and Crayton then walked to the nearby restaurant where they found April. Key was taken into custody. Following the arrest, the officers seized the tablet, prepaid credit cards, cellphones, and other evidence from the motel room. They also searched for and seized evidence from Key's car.

         Key moved to suppress the evidence discovered in the motel room and in the car. Initially, the district court denied the motion to suppress evidence recovered from the car and granted in part the motion to suppress evidence recovered from the motel room. Upon reconsideration, the district court denied in whole the motion to suppress evidence discovered in the motel room.

         At trial, the defense solicited testimony tending to show that April was in control of her own actions the entire time. The district court instructed the jury that voluntary participation by the victim was not a defense to the charged crime.

         The jury returned a guilty verdict. Key filed a post-trial motion for acquittal or alternatively a motion for a new trial alleging that the district court committed various errors, including denying his motion to suppress the evidence seized from his motel room and instructing the jury that consent is not a defense. The district court denied the motions, and Key appeals.

         II. Analysis

         On appeal, Key continues to argue the district court erred when it denied his motion to suppress the evidence found in the motel room and when it instructed the jury. When reviewing the denial of a motion to suppress, we review the district court's factual findings for clear error and issues of law de novo. United States v. Schmidt, 700 F.3d 934, 937 (7th Cir. 2012). We also review de novo whether a jury instruction fairly and accurately summarizes the law, and we review the district ...


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