United States v. Muhtorov, 18-1366

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtMATHESON, CIRCUIT JUDGE
PartiesUNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JAMSHID MUHTOROV, Defendant-Appellant. PETER FENN; LOCH JOHNSON; DAVID MEDINE; SHARON BRADFORD FRANKLIN; BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE AT NYU SCHOOL OF LAW; NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS, Amici Curiae.
Decision Date08 December 2021
Docket Number18-1366

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.

JAMSHID MUHTOROV, Defendant-Appellant.

PETER FENN; LOCH JOHNSON; DAVID MEDINE; SHARON BRADFORD FRANKLIN; BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE AT NYU SCHOOL OF LAW; NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS, Amici Curiae.

No. 18-1366

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

December 8, 2021


Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (D.C. No. 1:12-CR-00033-JLK-1)

Patrick Toomey, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, New York, New York (Ashley Gorski, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, New York, New York, Virginia L. Grady, Federal Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, John C. Arceci, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, with him on the briefs), for Defendant-Appellant.

Joseph Palmer, National Security Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. (Steven L. Lane, National Security Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., Jason R. Dunn, former United States Attorney, Denver, Colorado, Matthew R. Kirsch, United States Attorney, Denver, Colorado, James C. Murphy, Assistant United States Attorney, District of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, with him on the briefs), for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Andrew Crocker and Aaron Mackey, Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco, California, filed an amicus brief on behalf of Church Committee Staff in support of Defendant-Appellant.

Andrew C. Lillie, Jessica Black Livingston, Nathaniel H. Nesbitt, and Mark D. Gibson of Hogan Lovells U.S. LLP, Denver, Colorado filed an amicus brief on behalf of David Medine and Sharon Bradford Franklin in support of Defendant-Appellant.

Elizabeth Goitein, of The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Washington, D.C., filed amicus brief in support of Defendant-Appellant.

Norman R. Mueller of Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, P.C., Denver, Colorado, and John D. Cline, Law Office of John D. Cline, San Francisco, California, filed an amicus brief on behalf of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of Defendant-Appellant.

Before MATHESON, Circuit Judge, LUCERO, Senior Circuit Judge, and EID, Circuit Judge.

MATHESON, CIRCUIT JUDGE

TABLE OF CONTENTS

BACKGROUND ...................................................................................................... 1

A. Factual and Investigative Background ........................................................ 1

B. Procedural History ....................................................................................... 3

C. Issues on Appeal .......................................................................................... 4

I. Fourth Amendment Challenge to Section 702-Derived Evidence ................... 6

A. Historical and Legal Background ............................................................... 6

1. Pre-FISA Developments ........................................................................ 6

2. Traditional FISA .................................................................................... 8

3. Executive Order 12333 ........................................................................ 10

4. The Terrorist Surveillance Program and the PATRIOT Act ............... 10

5. The Protect America Act...................................................................... 11

6. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 ................................................... 12

a. Mechanics of Section 702 .................................................................. 13

i. Step One - Development of procedures ........................................ 14

ii. Step Two - Submission for FISC review ...................................... 16

iii. Step Three - Section 702 surveillance .......................................... 16

iv. Step Four - Database storage ....................................................... 19

b. Differences between Section 702 and traditional FISA .................... 19

B. Investigative Background.......................................................................... 20

C. Procedural History..................................................................................... 20

D. Challenge on Appeal ................................................................................. 21

E. Standard of Review and Fourth Amendment Background ....................... 25

F. Discussion .................................................................................................. 26

1. No Warrant Required ............................................................................. 27

a. No warrant required to surveil a foreign target .................................. 27

b. Incidental collection of Mr. Muhtorov's communications ................ 29

i. Legal background - incidental overhear and plain view ............... 30

1) Incidental overhear................................................................... 30

a) Title III case law .................................................................. 30

b) Applying the Kahn and Donovan dicta to the Fourth Amendment.......................................................................... 31

c) Applying the Kahn and Donovan dicta to foreign intelligence surveillance - FISCR, Second Circuit, and Ninth Circuit ... 32

2) Plain view ................................................................................. 34

ii. Analysis ......................................................................................... 36

1) Plain view and incidental collection without a warrant ........... 37

2) Foreign intelligence surveillance context - Section 702's statutory requirements.............................................................. 39

3) Incidental overhear................................................................... 40

4) Mr. Muhtorov's objections ...................................................... 41

2. Collection of Mr. Muhtorov's Communications Passed the Reasonableness Balancing Test ............................................................................. 45

i

a. Reasonableness balancing test ........................................................... 46

i. Government's interest .................................................................... 46

ii. Mr. Muhtorov's privacy interest .................................................... 47

iii. Privacy safeguards ......................................................................... 47

iv. Totality of the circumstances ........................................................ 48

b. Mr. Muhtorov's reasonableness arguments ....................................... 49

II. Article III Challenge .......................................................................................... 52

A. FISC Background ...................................................................................... 53

B. Discussion ................................................................................................. 54

1. Prohibition of Advisory Opinions ........................................................ 54

a. Advisory opinions background .......................................................... 55

b. Analysis.............................................................................................. 56

i. Not advisory opinions .................................................................... 57

ii. Mr. Muhtorov's counterarguments ................................................ 62

2. Separation of Powers and Article III ................................................... 63

a. Separation of powers background ...................................................... 65

b. Analysis.............................................................................................. 68

i. FISC does not trench upon executive prerogatives ....................... 69

ii. FISC performs appropriate judicial functions ............................... 70

iii. Additional considerations .............................................................. 72

1) Deference to Congress ............................................................. 72

2) Section 702 furthers privacy interests ...................................... 74

III. Nondisclosure of FISA and Section 702 Application Materials ...................... 76

A. Legal Background ..................................................................................... 76

B. Procedural History..................................................................................... 78

C. Standard of Review ................................................................................... 80

D. Discussion ................................................................................................. 80

1. Disclosure Under FISA ........................................................................ 81

a. Traditional FISA application materials .............................................. 81

b. Section 702 application materials ...................................................... 83

2. Due Process .......................................................................................... 85

a. Due process and Brady ...................................................................... 86

i. Legal background........................................................................... 86

ii. Analysis ......................................................................................... 86

b. Due Process and § 1806(f) - Mathews .............................................. 88

i. Legal background........................................................................... 88

ii. Analysis...

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