Archive | self-incrimination

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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Friday, August 10th, 2012

Cache Landing

United States v. Ramos, No. 10-4802-cr (2d Cir. July 2, 2012) (Winter, Raggi, Chin, CJJ)

This long opinion in a child pornography (“cp”) case tackles two interesting issues.


James Ramos was on New York State parole for a sex offense; to secure his release, he agreed to a search condition, to “promptly, fully and truthfully” reply to his PO’s questions, and to “fully” comply with the PO’s instructions.  He also, obviously, had to agree to stay away from “pornographic materials.” After five years, the PO told Ramos that two new conditions, polygraph testing and GPS monitoring, were being added to his supervision. Ramos protested at first, but eventually gave in.

Before his first polygraph examination, Ramos told the examiner that he had viewed forbidden materials, including cp, on his computer several times since his release. He took the test, which was inconclusive, then signed a form admitting what he …

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Categories: child pornography, interstate commerce, self-incrimination, Uncategorized

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Sunday, February 13th, 2011

The Chose Tattoo

United States v. Greer, No. 09-4362-cr (2d Cir. February 4, 2011) (Walker, Cabranes, CJJ, Koeltl, DJ)

Michael Greer was convicted of possessing a gun and its ammunition. The gun was recovered in a trash can along with the keys to a Hyundai Sonata, while the ammunition was found in the car itself. The Sonata had been rented by someone named Tangela Hudson, and a police officer testified that Greer had a tattoo on his left arm that said “Tangela.” On appeal, he argued that using the tattoo to connect him to the car violated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The circuit agreed that the tattoo was “testimonial.” The mere exhibition of a physical trait is not testimonial because it is not a communication that contains an assertion of fact or belief. But here, the tattoo was “used to a very different end” – not to identify Greer, but rather …

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Categories: Fifth Amendment, self-incrimination, Uncategorized

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