Submitted: May 15, 2019
from United States District Court for the District of North
BENTON, WOLLMAN, and GRASZ, Circuit Judges.
Donte Collier was convicted in the district
court of five counts of sex trafficking and
attempted sex trafficking, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 1591(a)(1), 1591(b)(1), and 1594(a); and one
count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United
States, specifically facilitating the promotion and
management of a business enterprise involving prostitution,
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. Collier filed
an appeal and we affirm.
was on supervised release in Minnesota for a prior state
crime when his supervising officials learned he was engaging
in the business of prostitution. Collier was arrested at the
request of a supervising official, who then conducted a
warrantless search of Collier's cell phone. Local police
later secured a warrant to search all of Collier's
electronic devices. Further investigation led officials to
believe that Collier had been forcing several women to engage
in commercial sex acts and give him the proceeds from those
acts. Following a jury trial, Collier was convicted of
conspiracy, interstate and foreign travel or transportation
in aid of racketeering enterprises, sex trafficking, and
attempted sex trafficking.
raises numerous issues on appeal, including denial of his
motion to suppress; improper jury instructions; denial of his
right to counsel; various evidentiary and witness errors;
violation of due process rights; judicial bias; and the
denial of his motion to dismiss based on the sufficiency of
the evidence. For the reasons discussed below, we find each
contention ultimately fails.
Search of Collier's Cell Phone
alleges the district court erred in denying his motion to
suppress evidence gained from the search of his cell phone.
The phone was searched without a warrant during Collier's
arrest. In reviewing the denial of a motion to suppress
evidence, "[w]e review the district court's findings
of fact under the clearly erroneous standard, and the
ultimate conclusion of whether the Fourth Amendment was
violated is subject to de novo review."
United States v. Williams, 777 F.3d 1013, 1015 (8th
Cir. 2015) (quoting United States v. Stephenson, 924
F.2d 753, 758 (8th Cir. 1991)).
warrantless search is per se unreasonable under the Fourth
Amendment absent a recognized exception." United
States v. Brooks, 715 F.3d 1069, 1075 (8th Cir. 2013).
Courts "'examin[e] the totality of the
circumstances' to determine whether a search is
reasonable within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment."
Samson v. California, 547 U.S. 843, 848 (2006)
(quoting United States v. Knights, 534 U.S. 112, 118
(2001)). "[T]o determine whether the Fourth Amendment
forbids a search, we weigh the degree to which a search
intrudes upon an individual's reasonable expectation of
privacy against the degree to which the government needs to
search to promote its legitimate interests." United
States v. Brown, 346 F.3d 808, 811 (8th Cir. 2003).
district court denied Collier's motion to suppress
evidence discovered as a result of the warrantless search of
his phone. As to the cell phone search by the supervising
official (Agent Welle), the district court held that Collier
had a reduced expectation of privacy while on supervised
release and was subject to Standard Condition of Supervised
Release No. 13, which provided that Collier "must submit
at any time to an unannounced visit and/or search of [his]
person, vehicle, or premises by the agent/designee." The
district court found that Welle was not acting as an agent
for the police. Collier's computer and other cell phones
were also permissibly seized the following day, given that
these items could have been searched because of Collier's
reduced expectation of privacy.
argues the Supreme Court's decision in Riley v.
California, 573 U.S. 373 (2014), forbade the warrantless
search of his cell phone at the time of his arrest. Although
Riley held that police officers must generally
obtain a warrant before searching a cell phone seized
incident to arrest, see id. at 386, this court has
recognized "Riley addressed privacy interests
of an arrestee, not the circumscribed interests of an
offender serving a term of supervised release."
United States v. Jackson, 866 F.3d 982, 985-86 (8th
Cir. 2017). This court has said "supervised release . .
. involves 'the most circumscribed expectations of
privacy.'" Id. at 985 (quoting United
States v. Makeeff, 820 F.3d 995, 1001 (8th Cir. 2016)).
Searches of a person on supervised release further
"substantial interests in preventing recidivism and
facilitating an offender's reentry into the
night of the search, Agent Welle requested an arrest warrant
after failing to find Collier at the location where he was
supposed to be and called the Moorhead police to arrest him.
Additionally, Agent Welle testified he searched the phone to