Archive | sex offenses

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Anthony Weiner’s Sentencing Memo

The Second Circuit’s most recent criminal opinions involve rather boutique issues. The Circuit has addressed, for example, whether a bail bond forfeiture must be vacated if a defendant dies while his appeal his pending (no), and whether the Circuit has jurisdiction to review a conviction when the defendant writes in the administrative section of the appeal form that he only seeking review of his sentence (yes).

Meanwhile, in the Southern District, Anthony Weiner’s attorneys have filed an interesting and detailed sentencing memorandum. The memo is instructive to attorneys representing defendants in child pornography cases. Of particular interest is the memo’s exhaustively researched argument section. Part I argues that the Guidelines provide an unreliable benchmark for determining the appropriate sentence in child pornography cases. Part II.A identifies aggravating factors that are often present in child pornography cases but which are absent from this case. The case discussion in …


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Categories: child pornography, forfeiture, sentencing, sentencing findings, sex offenses

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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

“Exigent Circumstances” Includes Potential Sexual Exploitation of a Minor; Allows for GPS Cellphone Tracking

On 12/1/16, the Second Circuit (Newman, Winter & Cabranes) handed down a decision finding that exigent circumstances justified the warrantless GPS tracking of a suspected sex trafficker. In United States v. Gilliam, the defendant, who was suspected of prostituting an underage girl, was located thanks to GPS coordinates on his cellphone provided to the police by Sprint. The girl had been reported missing and her involvement in prostitution was confirmed through credible sources.  During the course of the investigation, the police obtained the GPS location for the defendant’s cellphone from Sprint by informing them that there were “exigent circumstances” and a “missing child.”  GPS tracking led police to the defendant and the girl on a street in the Bronx.

The defendant challenged the use of the GPS information that lead to his location and arrest. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision that the Stored Communications Act (18 …


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Categories: Fourth Amendment, sex offenses

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Friday, July 15th, 2016

Second Circuit Updates – July 15, 2016

The Record of the Psychiatric Evaluation of a Rape Complainant was Material Under Brady and State Court’s Ruling to the Contrary was Unreasonable Application of the Kyles standard.

(Full disclosure: Colleen Cassidy, today’s blogger, briefed and argued this case)

In Fuentes v. Griffin, Docket NO. 14 – 3878, the Second Circuit (KEARSE, J.), held that the state prosecutor’s suppression of the rape complainant’s psychiatric evaluation (the “Record”) violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and that the state court unreasonably applied the materiality standard of Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419 (1995), in rejecting that claim. The state trial was a closely contested rape case with a consent defense, in which a sexual encounter on the roof of the complainant’s building was undisputed and the only issue was whether it was rape or consensual. The only witnesses to the encounter were the complainant and the defendant-petitioner …

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Categories: Brady, Kyles, sex offenses

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Categories: Brady, Kyles, sex offenses

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Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Advising Clients Regarding Sexual Polygraph Exams and the Fifth Amendment in Child Pornography Cases

Earlier this week, in United States v. Von Behren, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held that requiring that a person on supervised release answer questions on a sexual history polygraph that are designed to elicit admissions of criminal conduct violates the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.  You can read a copy of the opinion here.  Thank you to the folks at the Sentencing Resource Counsel for forwarding the opinion and congratulations to Assistant Federal Defender John T. Carlson who won the case before the Tenth Circuit.

This issue presents itself in many SDNY and EDNY cases, perhaps most frequently in possession of child pornography cases.  If your client is sentenced to a term of supervised release that contains a special condition regarding compliance with a sexual history polygraph, make sure you advise your client to assert his Fifth Amendment right, to do so in writing to his …


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Categories: child pornography, self-incrimination, sex offenses

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Monday, April 4th, 2016

Supreme Court: Sex Offender Who Leaves U.S. For Foreign Country Not Required To Update His Registration In U.S. (UPDATE)

If you move from Kansas to the Philippines, do you still “reside” in Kansas? Seems simple, right? The Supreme Court thought so, too.

In Nichols v. United States, No. 15–5238, the Court said no, in a unanimous, eight-page opinion issued just a month after oral argument.

Lester Nichols was convicted of a sex offense and required to register under SORNA. He lived (and registered) in Kansas for about a year, before he “disconnected all of his telephone lines, deposited his apartment keys in his landlord’s drop-box, and boarded a flight to Manila.” Slip op., at 3. Nicholas was arrested in the Philippines a month later and charged with failing to update his registration in Kansas, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a).

Nichols moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing that he was not required to update his registration in Kansas because he no longer “resided” there. The district …

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Supreme Court: Sex Offender Who Leaves U.S. For Foreign Country Not Required To Update His Registration In U.S.

There were no Circuit opinions or summary orders today.

The Supreme Court decided Nichols v. United States, No. 15–5238. A unanimous Court, per Justice Alito, held that a sex offender residing in Kansas who moved to the Philippines could not be prosecuted under SORNA for failing to update his registration in Kansas after the move.

In Woods v. Etherton, No. 15–723, the Court summarily reversed the Sixth Circuit’s grant of habeas relief on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim.

And the Court granted certiorari in Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, No. 15–606, where the question presented is: “Whether a no-impeachment rule constitutionally may bar evidence of racial bias offered to prove a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury.”

I’ll be back with a more detailed recap later today.…


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Categories: sex offenses, Sixth Amendment

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Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Gray’s Anatomy

United States v. Jass, No. 06-4899-cr (2d Cir. June 16, 2009) (Walker, Cabranes, Raggi, CJJ)

Marian Jass was jointly tried with her much older boyfriend, Kenneth Leight, on charges that they sexually exploited Leight’s daughter and one of her friends. Leight, but not Jass, was also charged with several child pornography counts, based on materials found in his home. The evidence of sexual exploitation consisted mainly of the testimony of the two girls. The government also relied on an agent’s testimony that Leight gave a detailed oral, unsigned and unacknowledged, confession about the episode involving the daughter’s friend. The statement, which incriminated Jass and referred to her seven times, was admitted over her objection after being redacted to substitute the phrase “another person” for each reference to her name. Leight did not testify and could not be cross-examined about the statement attributed to him. The court instructed the jury that …


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Categories: bruton, Confrontation Clause, sex offenses, Uncategorized

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Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Conditional Love

United States v. MacMillen, No. 07-3377-cr (2d Cir. September 23, 2008) (Hall, Livinston, CJJ, McMahon, DJ)

MacMillen pled guilty to possessing child pornography, and the court sentenced him to seventy-eight months’ imprisonment and supervised release for life. On appeal, he complained about two of the conditions of his supervised release: a prohibition on his being anywhere “where children are likely to congregate,” and his probation officer’s ability to address “third-party risk issues” with MacMillen’s employers.

The circuit found no abuse of discretion. The court found the first condition was not overbroad, because it was expressly limited only to places where children are likely to congregate; there is simply nothing in the condition that indicates that MacMillen is forbidden from entering areas where children are unlikely to be. Nor is the condition improperly vague; it gives adequate notice of what conduct is prohibited.

MacMillen next complained that the third-party risk condition …


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Categories: sex offenses, supervised release, Uncategorized

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Saturday, January 19th, 2008

PORN AGAIN

As the Blog has observed, see Post of 11/29/07: Have You Hugged A Sex Offender Recently?, recently sex offenders fared pretty well in the circuit. Until now. In this most recent crop of cases, sex offenders lost three out of four, and the win was in a summary order, to boot. Here they are:

1. United States v. Hawkins, No. 06-4061-cr (2d Cir. January 16, 2008) (Winter, Straub, Sotomayor, CJJ) (per curiam)

In this case, the court rejected a double-barreled challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b), which makes it a crime to travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, finding that the statute violated neither the Commerce Clause nor the First Amendment. It should be noted that there have been a few cases in other courts claiming that this statute impermissibly impinges on the constitutional right to travel interstate, but that issue remains open in this circuit.…


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Categories: sex offenses, Uncategorized

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