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7th Circuit vacates child porn supervised-release condition

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a sentence for possession of child pornography Thursday that it ruled imposed an unconstitutionally vague condition of supervised release. The court affirmed, in the case, convictions of attempting to distribute heroin and illegal possession of a firearm.

Scott Adkins of Gary was convicted of the heroin count and a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon in a jury trial before Chief Judge Philip P. Simon in the Northern District of Indiana in Hammond. Adkins later pleaded guilty in a separate case to receipt of child pornography.

Authorities in 2009 intercepted a UPS package containing heroin inside stuffed snowmen and tracked it to Adkins’ home with an electronic monitoring device. When Adkins opened the package, the device alerted and agents raided Adkins’ home.

A search turned up two guns and pornographic videos of girls appearing to be 7 or younger, according to the court. Adkins was sentenced to four years of supervised release on the heroin charge and three years of supervised release on the gun charge, concurrent to a term of 15 years supervised release on the child pornography charge.

In accepting supervised release on the child porn charge, Adkins agreed to a condition that he “shall not view or listen to any pornography or sexually stimulating material or sexually oriented material or patronize locations where such material is available.”  

In United States of America v. Scott Adkins, 12-3738, 12-3739, Circuit Judge Joel Flaum wrote for the panel that Adkins was not entitled to a new trial on his argument that the District Court erred in admitting certain evidence and the that jury was improperly instructed. The panel agreed, though, that a special condition of Adkins’ supervised release was vague and constitutionally overbroad, and that it could be appealed even though Adkins agreed to an appeal waiver.

Flaum wrote that an appeal waiver does not preclude the court from reviewing a condition to determine whether it is constitutionally vague, which the panel ruled was the case. “Read literally, this provision might preclude Adkins from using a computer or entering a library – irrespective of what he views in either place,” Flaum wrote. “Indeed, he might not be able to ride the bus, enter a grocery store, watch television, open a magazine or newspaper, read a classic like Romeo and Juliet, or even go out in public (given the ubiquity of advertisements that use potentially sexually oriented or sexually stimulating images to pique customer interest).”

The panel remanded the case to the District Court with instructions to more narrowly tailor the condition.

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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