Sex Offenses

The Federal Docket

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.

United States v. Kyle Adam Kirby (11th Cir. September 2019)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s sentence. The district court did not err by holding that the Guidelines recommend consecutive maximum sentences for each count of conviction where the Guidelines range (life imprisonment) exceeds the statutory maximum for each count.

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.

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.

United States v. Dean Doutt (6th Cir. June 2019)

On appeal, the Court held that the sentencing court applied the wrong legal standard under U.S.S.G. § 2G2.2(b)(5), which enhances a defendant’s sentence if the offense involves sexual activity with a minor between the ages of 12 and 16 “if the perpretrator was at least four years older than the minor. The district court erred by merely subtracting the victim’s age from the defendant’s without respect to how old each of them actually were at the time of the sexual contact.

United States v. Jacob Lickers (7th Cir. June 2019)

The Court affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to suppress based on a federal search warrant that was based on a defective state warrant. Though the Court agreed with the defendant that “any probable cause deficiency with the state search warrant would, as a matter of law and logic on these facts, heavily inform any conclusion we reach about the sufficiency of probable cause in the federal warrant application,” the Court upheld denial of the motion to suppress since the federal agents acted in good faith when they relied on the state warrant. The Court held that the focus should have been on the federal agents, who had no reason to question the integrity of the state proceedings, though the Court acknowledged that the result may have been different if the record reflected that the FBI had more knowledge about the state court proceedings

United States v. Charles Fulton Sr. (5th Cir. June 2019), On Petition for Rehearing

The Court agreed that the initial warrant by local law enforcement failed to particularize that computers, electronics, or phones were to be seized, so the seizure of the phone was improper. However, the Court held that the evidence was admissible under the good faith exception, since the federal agents that later acquired the phone from the local police and executed a search warrant did not know the police seized it unlawfully (as they had held on to the phone for a year) and since the applicability of the warrant to cell phones was a close question.

United States v. Ralph Fox Jr. (11th Cir. June 2019)

Citing other circuits, the Eleventh Circuit held for the first time that the application of § 4B1.5(b)(1) does not require multiple victims and can be applied to a defendant who engages in a pattern of prohibited sexual conduct with the same minor.

United States v. Jeffrey Cooper (11th Cir. June 2019)

Sixth Amendment/Confrontation Clause – There was no confrontation clause violation when law enforcement agent testified that the victims refused to testify because they feared humiliation since their statements regarding why they would not testify were not testimonial. However, the mens’ reasons for visiting the defendant’s apartment were testimonial statements since they were made in response …

United States v. Jeffrey Cooper (11th Cir. June 2019) Read More »

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