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7th Circuit upholds new conviction, cannot address registration requirement

January 28, 2015

Although a judge communicated that a man must register as a sex offender based on the Sex Offender and Registration Notification Act, because that decision was not incorporated into the judge’s final ruling, there is nothing for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to review regarding his challenge to that part of his sentence.

Jeffrey Taylor was convicted of attempting to use facilities of interstate commerce to engage in criminal sexual activity with a minor based on this online conversations and video chats in which he masturbated twice on a webcam. He believed the person he was communicating with was a 13-year-old girl, but it was, in fact, a law enforcement officer. The 7th Circuit reversed his conviction, finding that the law required evidence of physical contact. Taylor was then retried based on the same behavior but for attempting to transfer obscene material to a minor using means of interstate commerce.

He appealed in United States of America v. Jeffrey P. Taylor, 12-2916, raising claims that included double jeopardy and juror issues. He also challenged the District Court’s determination that his conviction triggers the registration requirements of SORNA.

The judges found that double jeopardy does not apply because proof of different elements was required under the two charges. They rejected his challenge to the District Court’s handling of strikes for cause of two jurors. He used peremptory strikes to remove two of the three jurors he complained about on appeal, and he did not object to the seating of the third. The judge did not commit plain error in seating that juror, who initially expressed slight reservation about being impartial but later said he would be.

And the 7th Circuit was prevented from ruling on Taylor’s SORNA challenge because of a procedural impediment. He claimed that his conviction does not qualify under SORNA. And although the judge agreed with the government that it did, when he pronounced Taylor’s sentence he said nothing of SORNA and attached the registration requirement to Taylor’s three-year probation. Now, instead of having to register for 15 years under SORNA, Taylor will only be required to register for three years, the duration of his probation. Because the government did not file a cross-appeal on the issue, the 7th Circuit held it was precluded from ruling on the matter.
 

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