Judge Dora Irizarry
Metter was indicted on conspiracy and substantive counts of securities fraud and obstruction of justice—as well as perjury before the SEC—for a scheme to create artificial demand for, and increase the share price and trading volume of, Spongetech Delivery Systems’ common stock. Several search warrants were executed after a criminal complaint and an SEC civil complaint were filed against Metter in May 2010. Despite denying, without prejudice, Metter’s motion to dismiss for improper venue, the court granted Metter suppression of electronic evidence seized and imaged pursuant to warrants—issued in May and November 2010—to search his home, Spongetech’s office, and his personal e-mail account. Some 15 months after the search warrants’ execution, the government has not concluded its review of the evidence seized and images so as to determine if any of it fell outside the warrant’s scope. On an apparent issue of first impression in the circuit, the court—discussing United States v. Mutschelknaus, United States v. Burns and United States v. Debbi—found the more than 15-month delay in reviewing the seized and imaged electronic evidence constituted an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment.