No Suppression When Salesman Called on the Carpet

United States v. Langenberg, 2022 WL 16704943 (8th Cir. 2022)

Matthew Patrick Langenberg worked as a salesman at a flooring store. He was issued a company iPhone, which he was allowed to take home and use as a personal phone. A co-worker reported that Langenberg had used the iPhone to record her. The company’s co-owner, Scott Storck, asked Langenberg for the phone and its passcode. Langenberg handed over the phone, unlocked it and provided the passcode to Storck.

When Storck examined the phone, he found images he believed to be child pornography. Storck notified the police, turning the phone and passcode over to officers. Sheriff’s Office investigators conducted a forensic examination of the phone and located 56 images depicting child pornography and one video depicting anime child pornography. Langenberg was charged with possession of child pornography. He asked the trial court to suppress the evidence on the iPhone; the court refused, and he appealed.

Langenberg handed over the phone, unlocked it and provided the passcode to Storck.

The appellate court upheld the denial of the suppression motion, holding Storck had apparent authority to consent to the search and the officers reasonably relied on that apparent authority. At the time Storck turned the iPhone over to police, the officers knew Storck had possession of the phone, access to its contents and claimed ownership over it, and that he had searched the phone himself.

Ken Wallentine

KEN WALLENTINE is the Chief of the West Jordan (Utah) Police Department and former Chief of Law Enforcement for the Utah Attorney General. He has served over four decades in public safety, is a legal expert and editor of Xiphos, a monthly national criminal procedure newsletter. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Death and serves as a use of force consultant in state and federal criminal and civil litigation across the nation.

More Posts

Share this post:

This blog was featured in our Xiphos newsletter, a monthly legal-focused law enforcement newsletter authored by Ken Wallentine. Subscriptions are free for public safety officers, educators and public attorneys.

Get Weekly Tips from Gordon Graham

Related Posts

Back to Top