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AOL Not an Agent of Government for Fourth Amendment Purposes

By FindLaw Staff on June 11, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Plus Other Criminal Matters

In US v. Garcia-Ochoa, No. 09-4620, the Fourth Circuit faced a challenge to a conviction of defendant for falsely declaring that he was a "citizen or national of the United States" or a "lawful permanent resident" on I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Forms.  In affirming the conviction, the court held that the district court did not err in finding materiality as the defendant's misstatements were capable of influencing agency action in a number of ways and by a number of agencies, including the Immigration and Custom Enforcement's enforcement of immigration laws.  

US v. Richardson, No. 09-4072, concerned a  challenge to the district court's denial of  a defendant's motion to suppress and its quashing of his subpoena duces tecum in a prosecution of defendant for child pornography related crimes.  In affirming the conviction, the court held that the statutory provision pursuant to which AOL reported defendant's activities did not effectively convert AOL into an agent of the government for Fourth Amendment purposes.  The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting AOL's motion to quash as his subpoena lacks specificity.  And lastly, the totality of the evidence provided the issuing magistrate with a substantial basis for concluding that there was a fair probability that the computer defendant used to engage in unlawful activities was kept in his current residence.  

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