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Men took substantial steps to commit crime

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the same issue in two separate Indiana cases of men chatting on the Internet with people they believed to be teen girls: whether there was evidence the men had taken "substantial steps" toward committing the crimes of enticing a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Donald Zawada and Derek Davey appealed their convictions of violating 18 U.S.C. Section 2422(b) - knowingly persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing a person under the age of 18 to engage in criminal sexual activity. In both cases, the men had been conversing online with undercover police whom they believed were underage girls. Both men had sexual conversations with the "girls" and discussed meeting; Davey actually made the drive to where he believed the girl lived.

The federal appellate court examined its recent decision in United States v. Gladish, 536 F.3d 646 (7th Cir. 2008), to determine the men had taken substantial steps toward committing the crimes. Gladish held that mere talk in an Internet chat room couldn't support a conviction under Section 2422(b), but more concrete steps are necessary, such as arranging a meeting, buying gifts, or "grooming" someone for a sexual relationship.

In United States v. Donald Zawada, No. 08-1012, Zawada had a conversation about making a date to meet with who he thought was an underage girl and discussed a specific time and day, but the meeting never happened. He also had several conversations with the "girl," which could have been considered grooming her for a sexualized relationship, wrote Judge Diane Wood.

Zawada claimed he wasn't the person associated with the screen names linked to the explicit conversations, but the jury found he had committed a substantial step toward completing the offense and that he was the one chatting with the alleged girl.

Davey's case is similar to Zawada's except that Davey originally pleaded guilty to the charges but later tried to withdraw his appeal. In United States v. Derek S. Davey, No. 07-3533, Davey was arrested in Northern Indiana after he had driven to a restaurant to call the "girl" he had been speaking to about making arrangements to sneak into her house. Before sentencing, Davey retained a new attorney and tried to have his plea thrown out; the District Court denied his motion to withdraw.

On appeal, he argued that he pleaded guilty to something that isn't an offense under Section 2422(b), and that is enough to invalidate his plea, wrote Judge Wood. The 7th Circuit found Davey's admissions in his plea agreement go "a long way" toward meeting the substantial step criteria established in Gladish - he made arrangements to meet with the "girl" he was chatting with and he drove to meet her at a pre-arranged spot.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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