Sex Offenses

United States v. Matthew Caniff (11th Cir. 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit sua sponte vacated its prior panel opinion where it had previously held that the defendant's text messages requesting sexually explicit pictures from an undercover officer posing as a minor constituted "making a notice" seeking child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2251(d)(1). The Court's new opinion held that "making a notice" is ambiguous and, applying the rule of lenity, sending private, person-to-person text messages asking a minor for sexually explicit pictures does not constitute "making a notice" to receive child pornography.

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United States v. Dane Gillis (11th Cir. September 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendant's convictions for enticing a minor under § 2422(b) but reversed his conviction under § 373 for solicitation to commit a crime of violence, holding that kidnapping under § 1201(a) is not a "crime of violence" under the categorical approach applicable to § 373. The Court also held that the defendant's right to a complete defense was not violated by the trial court's proper rulings on the inadmissibility of the defense experts' testimony.

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United States v. Samuel Elliott (10th Cir. September 2019)

The Court reversed the defendant's convictions on three of four counts for possession of child pornography. The Court held that 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5)(B), which prohibits knowingly possessing “any book, magazine...or any other material that contains an image of child pornography," was ambiguous regarding the "unit of prosecution," so the defendant could not be convicted for multiple counts based on having child pornography on multiple devices.

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United States v. Anthony Spence (11th Cir. May 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s sentence for child pornography after his offense level was enhanced based on his distribution of child pornography while he was in Jamaica. The Court held that a sentencing court may properly consider extraterritorial conduct if it is otherwise relevant conduct under the Guidelines.

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