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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. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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