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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. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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