Eighth Circuit

Goodwin v. United States, 869 F.3d 636 (8th Cir. 2017). ABUSE, SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
 Defendant convicted of attempted transportation of minor with intent to engage in sexual activity under Mann Act filed motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence. Eighth circuit ruled his attempted inducement of 17-year old victim to travel between states to have sex, in violation of valid state criminal statute prohibiting inducement of child younger than 18 years of age to engage in sexual conduct, was not protected speech under First Amendment.

Hutson v. Walker, 688 F.3d 477 (8th Cir. 2012). WRONGFUL DEATH
In wrongful death action filed after child’s death due to physical abuse while in grandparents’ care, agency staff were entitled to qualified immunity. Although their conduct in conducting home study of grandparents was lacking, agency staff’s actions were at worst neglectful, but did not rise to the egregious level required under the deliberate indifference test. FULL SUMMARY

Neely v. McDaniel, 677 F.3d 346 (8th Cir. 2012). ABUSE, DUE PROCESS
Individual’s due process rights were not violated when he was convicted of soliciting sex from a person under 15 over the Internet. Statute was not facially unconstitutional and could be applied against a defendant who never met the victim face to face and arguably could not ascertain the victim’s age. Many other strict liability statutes, like statutory rape, have withstood constitutional challenges and there was no compelling reason to distinguish petitioner’s case.

United States v. Gauld, 2017 WL 3254374 (8th Cir.). ABUSE, SENTENCING Defendant pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography and appealed his sentence. Appellate court held juvenile delinquency adjudication for criminal sexual offense involving minor was not “prior conviction” triggering 15-year mandatory minimum sentence for receiving child pornography under sentencing statute. Under federal law, delinquency adjudications are considered determinations of status rather than convictions for crimes.

United States v. Gonzalez, 2016 WL 3513820 (8th Cir.). ABUSE, RECORDED INTERVIEW 
District court acted within its discretion in trial for attempted sexual exploitation of minors when it granted jury’s request during deliberations to listen to audio recording of victim’s interview. Recording was properly admitted in evidence but not played at trial. Defendant waived any foundational objections and specifically stated he had no objection to admission of recording, and jury listened to audio recording using agreed-upon procedures.

U.S. v. Jungers, 702 F.3d 1066 (8th Cir. 2013). ABUSE, SEXUAL ABUSE
Trial court improperly acquitted defendant who offered to pay undercover officers, who were posing as child sex traffickers, for sex with minors. Federal statute that broadly prohibits sex trafficking of children applied to traffickers as well as ‘customers.’ Though most of the statutory language speaks to those who supply victims, the plain meaning including the phrase, ‘obtaining a minor,’ indicate the law was not limited to only the suppliers.

United States v. Jefferson, 2016 WL 945570 (8th Cir.). Juvenile homicide defendant filed motion to vacate life sentence and sought resentencing in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama. The U.S. District Court resentenced defendant to 600 months in prison and defendant appealed. The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals found the defendant’s sentence did not fall within Miller’s categorical ban on mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders and was not substantively unreasonable. FULL SUMMARY

United States v. Shinn, 681 F.3d 924 (8th Cir. 2012). ABUSE, JURY INSTRUCTIONS
Trial court did not err in denying defendant’s request for a jury instruction on entrapment in criminal trial for attempting to induce a child to engage in sexual activities. Defendant participated in chat room exchanges with a deputy posing as a 14-year-old girl. Though defendant had entered a chat room with an adult designation where the deputy purported to be a 14 year old, it was defendant who initiated sexual discussions and a plan for an in-person meeting, showing defendant was predisposed to commit the illegal act.

U.S. v. Wolff, 2015 WL 4730950 (8th Cir.). SEX OFFENSES, TRAFFICKING
Defendant appealed conviction on attempted sex trafficking of minor because he was arrested as part of sting operation and no actual live minor existed. Defendant communicated interest in 16-year-old girl and arrived at designated location with sexual paraphernalia. Court found proof of ability to actually carry out predicate offense is not required for conviction under attempt statute. His subjective intent and substantial steps he took were sufficient to convict on attempt offense.

State v. Stringer, 739 F.3d 391 (8th Cir. 2014). ABUSE, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
 Defendant was properly convicted of producing child pornography under federal criminal statute, where trial court excluded evidence that 15-year-old girl who was found in explicit photographs taken by and with defendant had been legally emancipated by her marriage at age 14. Because statute defined a minor as anyone under 18 and had no exception for someone emancipated, trial court could correctly conclude the evidence could confuse the jury.