On appeal from The
United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
On appeal from The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.
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Date: 11-15-2021

Case Style:

United States of America v. Elijah Vines

Case Number: 19-2316

Judge: Ilana Kara Diamond Rovner

Court:
On appeal from The

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
On appeal from The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office

Defendant's Attorney:


Chicago, IL - Criminal defense Lawyer Directory


Description:

Chicago, IL- Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant with five counts related to sex trafficking of a minor, including: sex trafficking of a child, and sex trafficking of a child and; conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor; and interstate travel in aid of racketeering charges.



The evidence at trial demonstrated that GMC was a fifteen-year-old girl who ran away from her foster home in August 2016, and in September 2016 was arrested for shoplifting
in Ohio. She did not provide her real name or age to police in
order to avoid being returned to the foster system. She contacted a friend, Shayana, to pick her up from jail, and Shayana
arrived accompanied by the defendant Elijah Vines. Vines
was involved in criminal activity that included selling cellphones as part of a scam and prostituting females. He transported GMC to his residence and then to a hotel, and subsequently began prostituting GMC. To further those unlawful
ends, he posted ads of GMC online, including on the website
Backpage, which was a site commonly used to advertise prostitutes to customers. He also arranged for her to meet with
those customers to engage in sex acts, and she gave the money
paid for those acts to him. Vines was aware that GMC was a
minor.
In October 2016, GMC was taken into custody as a runaway by law enforcement and was evaluated at the emergency
room at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. She informed them that she had run away from home, and that she
had been forced to engage in sex in exchange for drugs and
money. An examination by doctors determined that she had
injuries “too numerous to count.”
Vines now appeals his convictions, arguing that the trial
court erred in allowing the testimony of an expert witness that
No. 19-2316 3
related to the credibility of GMC; denying his motion to suppress GMC’s identification of Vines through a Facebook
photo; and denying the motions to suppress evidence obtained from a search of Vines’s iPhone and from a search of
his Facebook and iCloud accounts. We address these challenges in turn.
I.
Vines first argues that the court erred in denying his motion in limine to exclude the testimony of the government expert witness, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Hardie, and allowing Hardie to testify at trial as a sex-trafficking expert. In
his motion in limine, Vines argued that the expert testimony
would address the behavior of victims of sex trafficking, including that they may not be completely forthcoming when
questioned by law enforcement or medical personnel, and
that such testimony was merely a means of improperly bolstering GMC’s credibility. Vines argued that it is inappropriate for an expert witness to discuss another witness’s credibility. The government responded that as a blind expert, Hardie
would not have even spoken to GMC prior to the testimony
or read any of her statements, and therefore his testimony
could not possibly address GMC’s credibility. It asserted that
Hardie’s testimony would be limited to the experience of sextrafficking victims in general. The district court denied the
motion in limine, and Hardie was permitted to testify at trial.
Federal Rule of Evidence 702 provides that:
[a] witness who is qualified as an expert by
knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if: (a) the expert’s scientific, technical, or
4 No. 19-2316
other specialized knowledge will help the trier
of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue; (b) the testimony is based
on sufficient facts or data; (c) the testimony is
the product of reliable principles and methods;
and (d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.
Vines alleges that the testimony of Hardie should have been
excluded because it exceeded the bounds of permissible expert testimony and addressed the credibility of the victim.
Where a defendant challenges the admission of expert testimony, we review de novo whether the court applied the
proper Rule’s framework, and review for abuse of discretion
the ultimate decision to admit. United States v. Brown, 973 F.3d
667, 703 (7th Cir. 2020). “A district court ‘holds broad discretion in its gatekeeper function of determining the relevance
and reliability of the expert opinion testimony.’” Id. (quoting
Krik v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 870 F.3d 669, 674 (7th Cir. 2017)).
Vines does not challenge the legal framework here, so we review the admission of the testimony only for abuse of discretion.
At trial, Hardie’s testimony was limited to discussions of
the behavior of sex-trafficking victims in general. As to investigators, Hardie discussed the need to gain the trust of sex
trafficking victims, and the unwillingness of victims to reveal
all details from the start, as part of ongoing victim behavior.
Hardie made no reference to any actual behavior of GMC here
and presented no testimony as to her credibility.
Vines relies on United States v. Benson, 941 F.2d 598 (7th
Cir. 1991), to assert that such expert testimony was improperly admitted, but the reasoning in Benson actually supports
No. 19-2316 5
the district court’s admission of the evidence here. In Benson,
Internal Revenue Agent Gary Cantzler provided expert testimony as to why Benson was required to file income tax returns in 1980 and 1981. Id. at 603. In stating his opinion, Cantzler relied upon the testimony of witnesses whose credibility
had been attacked by Benson, thus making his own credibility
determination. Id. at 604. He drew inferences from evidence
that were not based on any special knowledge or skill, and for
which he had no greater qualification than the jury. Id. In
short, “Cantzler did not give helpful expert testimony that
cast another witness’ testimony in a good or bad light; instead, he simply told the jury whom to believe.” Id. at 604–05.
Accordingly, we held that the court abused its discretion in
admitting much of the testimony of Cantzler. Id. at 605.
In contrast, Hardie’s testimony in this case was based on
his expertise as to sex trafficking which would benefit a jury
in understanding the behavior of trafficking victims. It was
not based on any assessment by Hardie as to the credibility of
any witness, and did not include any opinion as to the credibility of any persons. Hardie merely provided insight as to sex
trafficking generally and the effect on victims, which would
aid a jury in understanding and evaluating the evidence presented to it. In fact, Hardie testified that he did not speak with
GMC at any point in time and did not read any of her statements, and therefore his testimony could not have been interpreted as opining as to her credibility. Hardie’s expert testimony, therefore, was the opposite of the expert opinion in
Benson, in that Hardie merely provided expert testimony as to
sex-trafficking victim behavior in general that could cast light
on the testimony of other witnesses, but did not tell a jury
whom to believe. Accordingly, Vines has failed to demon-
6 No. 19-2316
strate that the testimony of Hardie exceeded the scope of permissible testimony under Rule 702, and the district court did
not abuse its discretion in allowing the testimony.
II.
All of the remaining challenges by Vines pertain to the district court’s denials of motions to suppress. Vines argues that
the court erred in denying his motion to suppress: (1) GMC’s
identification of Vines in a photograph on a Facebook page;
(2) the search of Vines’s iPhone; and (3) the search of Vines’s
Facebook and iCloud accounts. We address these challenges
in turn.
A.
First, Vines challenges the district court’s refusal to suppress GMC’s identification of Vines from a photo on his Facebook page. We review a district court’s denial of a motion to
suppress an identification de novo with due deference to the
district court’s findings of historical fact. United States v. Gonzalez, 863 F.3d 576, 584 (7th Cir. 2017); United States v. Harris,
281 F.3d 667, 669–70 (7th Cir. 2002).
In the course of her third interview with investigating officers, GMC for the first time told them that her trafficker had
a Facebook page under the name “Elijah Kilt Vines,” which
she sometimes saw when scrolling through his phone. Prior
to that time, she told them that she called her trafficker “Deacon” or “Deacon Dollar,” but that it was not his real name. In
response to that information, the detectives then pulled up the
Facebook page associated with “Elijah Kilt Vines” and asked
“Is this him? I can’t imagine there’s another one with the same
name like that.” Dist. Ct. Order, Doc. 164 at 2, App. at A2.
GMC then identified the photo on that page as depicting her
No. 19-2316 7
trafficker, Deacon. Vines contends that the identification procedure was an unduly suggestive presentation in violation of
the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. Specifically, Vines
asserts that law enforcement officials should have been aware
that GMC had credibility problems, and that once GMC identified Vines as Deacon’s alias, law enforcement erred in suggestively pulling up a single photo from that Facebook page
rather than using a photo array including other individuals to
obtain an identification.
In determining whether the Due Process Clause requires
suppression of an eyewitness identification, the Supreme
Court has articulated a two-step analysis. First, the Court has
recognized that due process concerns arise only where the
identification procedure employed was both suggestive and
unnecessary. Sexton v. Beaudreaux, 138 S. Ct. 2555, 2559 (2018);
Perry v. New Hampshire, 565 U.S. 228, 238 (2012). “To be ‘impermissibly suggestive,’ the procedure must ‘give rise to a
very substantial likelihood of irreparable misidentification.’”
Sexton, 138 S. Ct. at 2559 (quoting Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 188,
197 (1972) (additional internal quotation marks omitted)).
Even in cases involving unnecessarily suggestive procedures,
suppression of the resulting identification is not inevitable.
Id.; Perry, 565 U.S. at 239. In such circumstances, the court
must “assess, on a case-by-case basis, whether improper police conduct created a substantial likelihood of misidentification.” Sexton, 138 S. Ct. at 2559 (internal quotations omitted)
The linchpin of that assessment is the reliability of the eyewitness identification, and “[t]he factors affecting reliability include ‘the opportunity of the witness to view the criminal at
the time of the crime, the witness’ degree of attention, the accuracy of his prior description of the criminal, the level of cer-
8 No. 19-2316
tainty demonstrated at the confrontation, and the time between the crime and the confrontation.’” Id., quoting Manson
v. Brathwaite, 432 U.S. 98, 114 (1977). Finally, due process is
implicated only where the process involved has the taint of
improper state conduct. Perry, 565 U.S. at 245. Where the suggestive nature of an identification process is the result of circumstances unrelated to improper state conduct, due process
does not require the exclusion of the evidence. Id. at 233, 245;
United States v. Sander, 708 F.3d 976, 984 (7th Cir. 2013).
The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that the
manner in which the prosecution presents the suspect to a
witness for identification can introduce a degree of suggestion
into the identification process that inherently risks misidentification and a miscarriage of justice. See Perry, 565 U.S. at 243;
United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218, 228 (1967). Illustrating
some of the numerous methods of improper suggestion, the
Court “pointed to police-designed lineups where ‘all in the
lineup but the suspect were known to the identifying witness,
… the other participants in [the] lineup were grossly dissimilar in appearance to the suspect, … only the suspect was required to wear distinctive clothing which the culprit allegedly
wore, … the witness is told by the police that they have caught
the culprit after which the defendant is brought before the
witness alone or is viewed in jail, … the suspect is pointed out
before or during a lineup, [and] … the participants in the
lineup are asked to try on an article of clothing which fits only
the suspect.’” Perry, 565 U.S. at 243, quoting Wade, 388 U.S. at
233. In all of those situations, the circumstances of the identification utilized by the police steered the witness toward the
identification of a person that the police had singled out as a
suspect.
No. 19-2316 9
In contrast, Vines’s challenge fails at the first step here, because he cannot demonstrate that the identification procedures used were “tainted by police arrangement.” Perry, 565
U.S. at 238. This was not a case in which the government identified a suspect and then presented the person’s photo to the
victim in a manner impermissibly suggestive so as to give rise
to a substantial likelihood of misidentification. In fact, there is
no evidence that they had knowledge of what photos would
be on the Facebook site, and whether those photos would relate at all to the description GMC provided of her trafficker.
The detectives pulled up the Facebook page in response to
GMC’s statement that her trafficker had a Facebook account
in that name to determine whether the Facebook account she
referenced existed and to identify it. Vines has presented no
evidence whatsoever to indicate that the detectives orchestrated the display of the Facebook page in order to facilitate
the identification of a particular person known to the detectives at the time. Because the existence of the Facebook page
was raised by GMC and the detectives had no apparent prior
knowledge of it, the display of the photo on the Facebook
page lacked the context of government involvement or any
government suspicion of guilt that is found in the examples
of suggestive identification arrangements. See Perry, 565 U.S.
at 232 (“a due process check on the admission of eyewitness
identification [is] applicable when the police have arranged
suggestive circumstances leading the witness to identify a
particular person as the perpetrator of a crime.”); Coleman v.
City of Peoria, Illinois, 925 F.3d 336, 347 (7th Cir. 2019) (“Due
Process Clause requires the exclusion of an eyewitness identification if the unduly suggestive circumstances are so egregious as to taint the entire trial”). There is, in short, no basis
to hold that the showing of the Facebook account to GMC was
10 No. 19-2316
“suggestive.” This case instead is analogous to that presented
in Perry, in which the witness identified a person based on the
witness’s own initiative rather than based on a police-generated identification arrangement. Although the due process
claim would have faltered on other grounds as well—including on the reliability element, given that GMC had ample opportunity to observe her trafficker and had in fact identified
him by name prior to being shown the photo—we need not
explore that element because the taint of improper police conduct is not present here.
B.
Vines next challenges the district court’s denial of the motion to suppress regarding the search of his iPhone. For denials of motions to suppress, we review conclusions of law de
novo, and review findings of fact for clear error. United States
v. Edgeworth, 889 F.3d 350, 353 (7th Cir. 2018).
In interviews with law enforcement, GMC stated that
Vines used his cell phone to record her performing sex acts on
him, and to photograph her and share those photos with potential clients through a sex-trafficking website and a messaging application. Dist. Ct. Order, Doc. 164 at 6, App. at A6.
When Vines was taken into federal custody on July 14, 2017,
he gave his iPhone to his girlfriend, Sajal Smoote, who thereafter kept the phone at her home. Smoote did not know the
password to access the phone. In mid-August 2017, law enforcement officers visited Smoote at her home and asked her
if she still had Vines’s phone and if she would provide it to
them. They informed her that they would seek a search warrant if she did not provide the phone to them. Smoote gave
No. 19-2316 11
the phone to them, and law enforcement officials subsequently obtained a search warrant to access the contents of
the phone.
Although purporting to challenge the “search” of the
phone, Vines does not challenge the validity of the warrant
that authorized the actual search, and his arguments instead
relate only to the lawfulness of the initial seizure of the phone.
As to that, he argues that the seizure of the phone was unlawful because Smoote did not have the passcode to the phone,
and because her consent was invalid.
Vines conflates the seizure of the phone and the search of
its contents in his arguments. He argues that a person in possession of a locked or sealed item does not have a possessory
interest in such item, and that Smoote lacked a possessory interest in the phone because she did not know the passcode for
it. He also asserts that at the time Smoote provided the phone
to law enforcement, a reasonable person would have known
that the police would have attempted to search the phone,
and therefore her surrender of the phone to them was “tantamount to consent to search the phone.” Vines’s cases in support of those arguments, however, address the search of the
contents of locked containers, not the seizure of such containers. Because the search of the phone’s contents in this case was
done pursuant to a warrant—which is unchallenged here—
those cases are inapplicable to the situation in this case.
Instead, our decision in United States v. James, 571 F.3d 707
(7th Cir. 2009), is controlling. In that case, James had left a
locked safe at the residence of his mother, Linda Martin. Martin was interviewed by detectives investigating James’s involvement in some bank robberies. Martin subsequently
called those detectives and told them that James had informed
12 No. 19-2316
her that the safe contained a gun. Id. at 711. Martin told them
she was not going to open the safe before police came to the
residence. Id. The detectives then contacted her and told her
they would like to assist her with turning the gun over to the
police. When they came to the residence, she showed them
the safe and made no objection to their plan to remove it from
the residence. Id. They subsequently obtained a warrant to
search the contents of the safe.
James sought to suppress the items found in the safe, arguing they were obtained in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. We upheld the district court’s denial of that motion to suppress. We recognized that James held two interests
protected by the Fourth Amendment that were implicated—
the privacy interest in the contents of the safe, which was not
at issue because a search warrant was obtained before opening and searching the safe, and a right to possess the safe,
which was implicated by the initial seizure of the safe from
Martin. Id. at 713. Although typically a seizure of property is
unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment unless pursuant
to a warrant, we held that third-party consent was a well-established exception to the warrant requirement. Id. We noted
that “where a defendant allows a third party to exercise actual
or apparent authority over the defendant’s property, he is
considered to have assumed the risk that the third party
might permit access to others, including government agents.”
Id. at 713–14. We concluded that authority to consent to the
initial seizure would be shown if Martin: “(1) had joint control
of or access to the safe itself (regardless of whether she had
access to the contents of the safe) (actual authority); or (2) it
was reasonable for police to believe she had joint control of or
access to the safe itself (apparent authority).” Id. at 714. We
No. 19-2316 13
determined that both actual and apparent authority were established. As demonstrating actual authority, we noted that
the safe was in the house because James had left it with Martin, that Martin possessed it for a significant period of time,
and that Martin exercised control over the safe itself and
James did not limit or restrict her control over the safe. Id. Furthermore, we held that Martin’s acquiescence to the removal
of the safe by the detectives from her home constituted consent even without any formal statement of consent. We noted
that consent can be express or implied from circumstances,
and can be verbal or non-verbal. Id. at 715.
Similarly, Vines possessed two protectible interests here:
the privacy interest in the contents of the phone, which was
not at issue because a search warrant was obtained before
opening and searching the phone, and a right to possess the
phone, which was implicated in the initial seizure of the
phone from Smoote. As in James, a warrant was unnecessary
to seize the phone, even though it impacted his possessory interest in it, because the third-party consent exception to the
warrant requirement applies. Smoote possessed actual (and
apparent, although we need not explore that) authority over
the phone itself. Similar to the safe in James, the phone was left
in her possession for at least a month, and Vines did not limit
or restrict her control over it. She therefore was able to consent
to the seizure of the phone, and the court did not err in determining that she did so. Vines argues that consent was coerced
because the officers informed Smoote that they would return
after obtaining a warrant if she did not consent, but nothing
in that colloquy renders the acquiescence involuntary. In fact,
informing her that they would need to return with a warrant
in order to seize the phone if she did not consent made clear
that she had the right to refuse to turn it over. Vines has raised
14 No. 19-2316
no meritorious challenge to the seizure of the phone, and the
court did not err in denying the motion to suppress its contents.
C.
Finally, Vines challenges the district court’s denial of his
motion to suppress the results of the search of his Facebook
and iCloud accounts. According to Vines, the warrant application, in its recitation of statements by GMC, contained a
large number of misrepresentations and contradictions. He
argues that the government omitted or misrepresented information material to GMC’s credibility which was sufficient to
raise an inference of reckless disregard, and that the district
court should have conducted an evidentiary hearing as recognized in Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978), to assess the
validity of the warrant in light of those misrepresentations
and omissions.
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution commands
that “no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the
place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
That probable cause determination is a “practical, commonsense” one based upon the totality of the circumstances, and
exists for a search warrant when those circumstances indicate
even a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime
will be found in a particular location. United States v. Bacon,
991 F.3d 835, 839 (7th Cir. 2021) (quoting Illinois v. Gates, 462
U.S. 213, 238 (1983)); United States v. Adams, 934 F.3d 720, 725
(7th Cir. 2019). That showing requires neither absolute certainty nor even a preponderance of the evidence. Adams, 934
F.3d at 725.
No. 19-2316 15
The Supreme Court in Franks, 438 U.S. 154, recognized
that a defendant may challenge the truthfulness of statements
made in the affidavit seeking the search warrant. A search
warrant may be invalid if the police obtain it by deliberately
or recklessly providing false, material information or deceptive omissions to the issuing judge. Bacon, 991 F.3d at 841;
United States v. Hansmeier, 867 F.3d 807, 813 (7th Cir. 2017). A
defendant is entitled to an evidentiary hearing (a “Franks
hearing”) if he makes a substantial preliminary showing of
specific intentional or reckless misrepresentations or omissions. United States v. Santiago, 905 F.3d 1013, 1025 (7th Cir.
2018); United States v. Clark, 935 F.3d 558, 563 (7th Cir. 2019).
However, to obtain a Franks hearing, “the defendant must
also show that if the deliberately or recklessly false statements
were omitted, or if the deliberately or recklessly misleading
omissions included, probable cause would have been absent.”
Santiago, 905 F.3d at 1025 (quoting United States v. McMurtrey,
704 F.3d 502, 509 (7th Cir. 2013)). “[I]f probable cause to issue
the warrant would still exist even if the false statement or material omission were corrected, then no Franks hearing is required.” Id. (quoting United States v. Carmel, 548 F.3d 571, 577
(7th Cir. 2008)); United States v. Mullins, 803 F.3d 858, 862 (7th
Cir. 2015) (courts “consider the affidavit, eliminating any false
statements and incorporating omitted material facts, and determine [ ] whether probable cause existed”)(internal quotation marks omitted); see also Clark, 935 F.3d at 563 (to obtain
a Franks hearing, a defendant must make a substantial preliminary showing that the material falsity or omission would alter the judge’s probable cause determination). A denial of a
Franks hearing is reviewed only for clear error, and a district
court’s legal conclusions are reviewed de novo. Bacon, 991 F.3d
at 841.
16 No. 19-2316
In this appeal, Vines recounts a laundry list of the alleged
misrepresentations and omissions in the affidavit that he argues would have caused the district court to question GMC’s
credibility. These include a number of alleged contradictions
by GMC in her recounting of events and her responses to
questions over time. The link between the allegations and
GMC’s credibility is a tenuous one for many of the allegations. For instance, at least some of those alleged contradictions by Vines are “internal contradictions”—statements
within the affidavit which contradict each other. Vines does
not explain how those statements could invalidate the warrant, given that the issuing judge would have therefore been
aware of the contradictions and could factor it into the assessment of credibility. See Bacon, 991 F.3d at 841 (holding that
omissions were immaterial because they were apparent from
the face of the affidavit). Other representations or omissions
alleged by Vines would not, on their face, impact credibility
in any meaningful manner.
But we need not engage in an analysis of each alleged misrepresentation or omission, because the district court’s decision rested on another ground that is unchallenged by Vines.
Vines’s argument in favor of a Franks hearing is that the misrepresentations and omissions could have impacted the
court’s credibility assessment of GMC, but such a showing is
not sufficient to require a Franks hearing. Vines must also
demonstrate that absent the omission or misrepresentation,
probable cause would not exist. For instance, even in the context of warrants based on statements from informants, in
which the informant’s credibility is crucial, we have repeatedly recognized that misrepresentations or omissions that
could impact the credibility assessment do not trigger a Franks
hearing where probable cause is nevertheless established
No. 19-2316 17
through other evidence. See Santiago, 905 F.3d at 1025 (upholding the denial of a Franks hearing where the omission
would not have altered the court’s probable cause conclusion
because the affidavit was replete with evidence that the target
phones were used to coordinate ongoing drug transactions
and that the tapping of the phones would lead to further evidence of criminal activity), United States v. Musgraves, 831 F.3d
454, 461 n.1 (7th Cir. 2016) (holding that the omission of information about an informant’s criminal background did not undermine probable cause and require a Franks hearing in light
of the statements from another witness and a video recording
that corroborated the informant’s account of a controlled buy
a year earlier), and Mullins, 803 F.3d at 862 (7th Cir. 2015)
(Franks hearing not required because even eliminating any
false statements and incorporating omissions, probable cause
existed given the level of detail in the statements and the corroborating evidence); see also United States v. Taylor, 471 F.3d
832, 840 (7th Cir. 2006)(after a Franks hearing, holding that the
omission of an informant's criminal background and financial
motive was not essential to the probable cause determination
where the detailed affidavit had been extensively corroborated). A Franks hearing is not required where independent
evidence of corroboration or other evidence unrelated to the
challenged evidence is sufficient to support probable cause.
That is precisely what the district court found here. The
court held that even assuming that the challenged omissions
could have impacted its credibility determination, other evidence established probable cause (MV1 refers to GMC):
[A]s submitted, the affidavits are detailed and
include extensive information corroborating
MV1’s statements. Investigators corroborated
18 No. 19-2316
through Backpage that there were, consistent
with MV1’s statements, postings to Backpage
advertising MV1 under the names “Halle” and
“Violet.” MV1’s involvement in prostitution
with Vines was corroborated by Witness S.P.’s
statement, which was itself corroborated by the
police report resulting from Witness S.P.’s call
to police. Other aspects of MV1’s statements
and Witness S.P.’s statement were corroborated
by the registries of hotels that MV1 and Witness
S.P. specifically mentioned. MV1’s statements
about A.D., including that MV1 and A.D. were
advertised on Backpage for “two girl specials,”
were corroborated by A.D.’s statement. Baker’s
involvement with MV1 and A.D. was corroborated by the circumstances of A.D.’s and Baker’s
arrests as well as by Witness S.P.’s statement.
Given the affidavits’ level of detail and corroboration, there would have been probable cause
for search of Vines’s Facebook and iCloud accounts even if the alleged omissions had been
fully disclosed in the warrant applications.
(internal citations omitted) Dist. Ct. Order, Appx. at A10–11.
Vines does not address that holding. He argues extensively that the alleged misrepresentations and omissions
could have impacted GMC’s credibility, but never acknowledges or addresses the court’s holding that probable cause
was nonetheless established by that other evidence not impacted by those statements and omissions.
No. 19-2316 19
The government in its responsive brief addressed that
holding by the district court, as well as additional corroborating evidence unrelated to GMC’s statements, and argued that
any impact on GMC’s credibility from the alleged misrepresentations or omissions would not therefore undermine the
probable cause determination. In the reply brief, however,
Vines once again does not acknowledge or address the evidence identified by the district court, nor the court’s conclusion that the evidence would establish probable cause even if
the challenged evidence was corrected. Vines instead merely
declares in a conclusory statement that the misrepresentations and omissions were “material.” That is insufficient to
preserve a challenge to the district court’s holding. The district court identified significant evidence independent of
GMC’s statements that established probable cause, and we
will not manufacture challenges to that determination that are
not raised by Vines. Hackett v. City of S. Bend, 956 F.3d 504, 510
(7th Cir. 2020) (“[a]n appellant who does not address the rulings and reasoning of the district court forfeits any arguments
he might have that those rulings were wrong”); Griffin v. Bell,
694 F.3d 817, 826 (7th Cir. 2012) (holding that the plaintiff’s
failure to challenge the district court’s alternate basis for its
holding was fatal to the claim of error). Therefore, even assuming that the alleged misrepresentations and omissions
could have undermined GMC’s credibility, the unchallenged
holding of the district court that probable cause was nevertheless established by other evidence forecloses Vines’s arguments that a Franks hearing was required and that the motion
to suppress should have been granted.

Outcome: Because the above arguments are unavailing, and Vines
has raised no other meritorious challenge, the decision of the
district court is AFFIRMED.

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