United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
ORDER AND OPINION
E. Shadid Chief United States District Judge
before the Court is Defendant Travis Tuggle's Motion to
Suppress (Doc. 50), and the United States' Response (Doc.
51). For the reasons set forth below, the Defendant's
Motion (Doc. 50) is DENIED.
Travis Tuggle was indicted on August 1, 2017 in a two-count
superseding indictment. Count 1 charges Defendant with
conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to
distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 846 and 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A). Doc. 41. Count
II charges the Defendant with maintaining a drug-involved
premises in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 856. Id.
On July 6, 2018, the Defendant filed the present Motion to
Suppress, arguing that evidence obtained from pole camera
footage outside his residence constituted an impermissible
warrantless search and should be suppressed. Doc. 50.
Currently, the trial is scheduled for September 10, 2018.
Frozen Tundra” was an expansive investigation of a
large-scale drug trafficking network active in several
central Illinois counties, which took place from late 2013 to
early 2016. Doc. 51, at 4. This investigation was approved as
a “OCDETF” case, meaning that multiple federal
agencies were cooperating and the overall drug network
involved large-scale trafficking and out-of-state suppliers.
Id. Through the course of the investigation, the
Government began to focus their attention on the Defendant
and his accused co-conspirators. Id. at 1.
the investigation, the Defendant maintained a residence at
709 North 9th Street, in Mattoon, Illinois. Doc. 50. Many
customers and co-conspirators of the supposed drug
trafficking ring were believed to live nearby the
Defendant's residence. Doc. 51, at 2. This neighborhood
was made up of frequently untraveled roads, and made physical
surveillance difficult for investigators. Id. While
the Government investigated the suspected offenders, they
maintained three pole cameras on public property in the
surrounding area of Defendant's residence. Id.
Two of the three cameras were placed on a telephone pole in
an alley between Dewitt and Piatt Avenues, just east of 9th
Street and immediately next to the Defendant's residence.
Id. These two cameras were placed on the same pole
and shared a view of the Defendant's driveway and the
front of his residence. Id. Defendant's driveway
takes up the majority of the front yard. Id. at 6.
The third camera was placed approximately one block south of
the other cameras, in the 600 block of North 9th Street,
which could also view the Defendant's residence but was
primarily used to surveil co-defendant Joshua
Vaultonburg's shed. Doc. 51, at 2.
could remotely operate the cameras to zoom, pan, and tilt.
Id. The cameras were equipped with rudimentary
lighting technology to minimally assist the cameras'
operation at night. Id. The cameras could not record
audio, nor did they have infrared or any capabilities to view
or capture anything inside the Defendant's residence that
he did not expose to the public. Id. During the
investigation, a few cameras intermittently stopped
functioning and were replaced by identical models in the same
locations. Id. at 3. The surveillance footage was
viewable in real time from the East Central Illinois Task
Force's office in Mattoon and the data was stored on a
server at the FBI's Springfield office. Id.
pole cameras could only view the exterior of the
Defendant's residence and the surrounding area of the
house. Id. The Defendant's residence is located
in a populated residential area and had no fence, wall, or
other object that would obstruct the view of a passerby.
Id. The pole cameras recorded roughly 100 instances
believed to be the Defendant meeting with various couriers
and suppliers. Id. Those individuals would park in
the Defendant's driveway then often carry items such as
tires, boxes, and bags into the Defendant's residence.
Id. Those individuals would then leave with only the
rims of tires, smaller sacks, and sometimes nothing at all.
Id. The cameras further captured the Defendant
carrying items across the street to co-defendant Josh
Vaultonburg's shed. Id. at 4. Various witnesses
have uniformly corroborated that the cameras captured
couriers bringing the Defendant's shipments of
methamphetamine and once they left, the Defendant's
distributors would arrive to pay and pick up their batch of
methamphetamine. Id. The pole cameras operated, in
some fashion or another, from August 21, 2014, to March 2,
2016. Id. The pole cameras captured
footage of the Defendant's residence for approximately 18
months. Id. The lengthy nature of the investigation
was largely attributed to the size and scope of the network,
which extended well beyond Defendant and his particular
conspiracy. Id. The Government never sought or
received a warrant for the pole cameras. Doc. 50.
Fourth Amendment provides in part, that the people have a
right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers,
and effects, against unreasonable searches and
seizures.” U.S. v. Jones, 132 S.Ct. 945, 949
(2012). “[T]he ultimate touchstone of the Fourth
Amendment is ‘reasonableness.'” Riley v.
California, 134 S.Ct. 2473, 2482 (2014). “A Fourth
Amendment search occurs when the government violates a
subjective expectation of privacy that society recognizes as
reasonable.” Kyllo v. Unites States, 533 U.S.
27, 33 (2001). Furthermore, the Fourth Amendment protects
people, not places. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S.
247, 351 (1967). What a person exposes to the public is not
private, even in his home or office, but what he seeks to
preserve as private, even in a public area, may be
constitutionally protected. Id.
argues in his Motion to Suppress that the Government violated
his reasonable expectation of privacy secured by the Fourth
Amendment when it conducted warrantless surveillance of his
residence with pole cameras for 18 months. Doc. 50. The
Government responds that Defendant did not have a reasonable
expectation of privacy in the activities recorded by the pole
cameras, and the length of the surveillance does not alter
this analysis. Doc. 51.
Reasonable Expectation of Privacy
Fourth Amendment protects the right of the people to be
secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures.” Carpenter v.
United States, 138 S.Ct. 2206, 2213 (2018) (internal
quotation omitted). Although much of the early Fourth
Amendment jurisprudence regarding searches tied the doctrine
to “common-law trespass, ” the Supreme Court has
more recently recognized that Fourth Amendment
“protects people, not places”; thus, violations
may occur even where the Government does not physically
intrude on a constitutionally protected area. Id.
(citing United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400, 405,
406, n. 3 (2012), Katz v. United States, 389 U.S.
347, 351 (1967)); see also Kyllo v. United States,
533 U.S. ...