United States v. Vosburgh
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
602 F.3d 512 (2010)
Ranchi, an underground internet message board, hosted user posts linking to images and videos depicting child pornography. Because Ranchi was difficult to find and access, users typically learned about Ranchi through other child-pornography websites. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agent Wade Luders went undercover as a Ranchi user. Luders posted a link on Ranchi to what was purportedly a child-pornography video; however, it was a trap link that logged the internet protocol (IP) address of any Ranchi user who attempted to access it. An IP address is a unique identification number for an internet-connected device. Rod Vosburgh (plaintiff) attempted to download Luders’s video and was identified using his IP address. The FBI applied for a warrant to search Vosburgh’s computer. In the warrant application, the FBI described its investigation, how it identified Vosburgh, and stated that child-pornography collectors frequently keep their collections indefinitely. There was no evidence presented that Vosburgh had an existing child-pornography collection, only that he attempted to download Luders’s video. The district court issued the warrant. During the search, the FBI recovered an external hard drive containing two images of child pornography. The federal government (defendant) charged Vosburgh with possession of child pornography. Vosburgh was convicted after a jury trial. Vosburgh appealed, arguing that (1) there was insufficient evidence to convict; and (2) because Vosburgh attempted to download Luders’s Ranchi link four months before the warrant was issued, the information was stale and could not be used to obtain a search warrant.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)
Concurrence (Barry, J.)
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