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United States v. Gordy

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Northeastern Division

July 2, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
STEVEN R. GORDY

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          ELI RICHARDSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant Steven Gordy's Motion to Suppress (Doc. No. 28, “the Motion”). Through the Motion, Defendant seeks to suppress all evidence obtained as fruits of an execution of a search warrant of his home. Defendant contends that the search warrant was invalid because on its face, the warrant affidavit failed to establish probable cause to search his home nor established the requisite nexus to his home. Therefore, according to Defendant, the search was in violation of his Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The Government has responded and argues that the warrant affidavit demonstrated both probable cause and the requisite nexus to Defendant's residence. The Government also asserted alternatively that the good-faith exception applied. (Doc. No. 36). Defendant replied to the Government's response. (Doc. No. 37). The parties' arguments will be explored in turn.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         On May 8, 2017, AG[2] and her mother, Michelle Gordy, met with Lt. Darrell Taylor of the Macon County Sheriff's Department. AG informed Lt. Taylor that Defendant, AG's step-father, had sexually abused her (and her two older sisters) for several years and that Defendant currently resided at 4480 Gamaliel Road, Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee in Macon County.

         On May 10, 2017, Lt. Taylor sought a search warrant to search Defendant's home and any electronic devices found therein for child pornography. (Doc. No. 28-1). Lt. Taylor submitted an affidavit that made the following allegations to establish probable cause:

1. I, Lt. Detective Darrell Taylor, have been a law enforcement officer for 20 years. . . [and I] ha[ve] received specialized training in the sell [sic] or distribution of Child Pornography. . . .
2. On May 8th, 2017, [AG] D.O.B.[REDACTED] and Amy Michelle Gordy (mother) reported to Lt. Detective Darrell Taylor that her stepfather Steven Gordy had been sexually assaulting [AG] and her sister's [sic] for the past 7 years.
3. I, Lt. Detective Darrell Taylor, was made aware that there was unlawful recording of the children by Steven Gordy by talking to [AG]. [AG] stated that Steven Gordy has recorded and took pictures of the sex acts that he committed with the her [sic] and her sisters [IG] D.O.B.[REDACTED] And [TG] D.O.B.[REDACTED].
4. There has been forensic interviews with the 3 girls in which they did disclose that sex acts had took place.
5. [AG] reported that Steven Gordy had been having sex with her since she was 8 years old years old and they have been living in Macon County for the last 4 years.
6. I, Lt. Detective Darrell Taylor did talk to a Detective from Haywood County North Carolina that is also investigating a sex crime that has took place in their state with the same persons, due to the fact that Michelle Gordy had moved to North Carolina and Steven Gordy coming to her residents [sic] to see the girls.
7. After receiving information of the Sexual Acts and the recording devices, and Steven Gordy's unusual activity around the children, my training and experience in Law Enforcement, along with training and experience with investigating child sex abuse, child molestation, and pedophilia; I, Lt. Detective Darrell Taylor, believe there is probable cause that Steven Gordy was making and now possesses illegal recordings the underage stepdaughter's [sic]. I also have probable cause to believe there are other recording devices, S.D. card, Media storage devices, Laptops, Computers, Cellphones, and pictures located inside of the home of Steven Gordy located at [] Gamaliel Road in Red Boiling Springs, TN. I believe Steven Gordy was using his home cameras in order to obtain sexually explicit images of a juvenile female for his own sexual gratification.
8. Affiant has also received training that many times child sex abusers use their home and position as an authority figure, parent, or family member to gain the trust of their victims. Perpetrators lure their victims inside their way of life and use many methods of operation to obtain a goal of self-gratification which include but are not limited to: covert cameras, surveillance equipment, and peep holes along with the recording and trading of video and pictures with other pedophilia addicted individuals.
9. I have conducted this investigation as a supervising Detective of the Macon County Sheriff's Department, and I am fully aware of the factual information ...

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