Articles Posted in Federal Sex Crimes

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently took up the case of a Florida man convicted of acting as a pimp for a minor girl. The court’s decision is a good example of the serious consequences that can come with being charged with sex trafficking and the significant leeway that judges have in deciding whether a Florida criminal defendant is competent to stand trial.

Defendant was convicted of two federal crimes—sex trafficking of a minor child and inducing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction—for taking advantage of a 16-year-old girl who had ran away from home. He took sexually suggestive photos of the girl, according to the court, and uploaded them to an internet site for prostitution. The girl said Defendant made her have sex with four or five men per day and then give the money she earned to him. He also allegedly plied the girl with crack cocaine.

A presentencing report indicated that Defendant had been receiving Social Security Disability benefits since he was five years old because of “learning disabilities.” He told the court he could not read, write, or spell, and suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. Defendant’s attorney also submitted an evaluation showing that Defendant had a very low IQ—equal to or better than only 0.1 percent of his peers—and that he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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A Florida sex crime conviction is a serious situation that can have significant and lasting consequences. If you get arrested again, you may be looking at more severe penalties. As a recent decision out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit shows, a court has the right to impose penalties related to the original sex crime, even if they are not directly related to the second conviction.

Defendant was convicted of car-jacking and sentenced to federal prison following an undisclosed incident. He was eventually given a supervised release. As part of the terms of that release, a federal judge ordered Defendant to participate in a sex-offender treatment program and to refrain from having unsupervised contact with minors. The judge noted that Defendant had previously been convicted of sex crimes against a child under the age of 12 and that he’d undergone psychological treatment for about two years prior to the car-jacking offense. The court also noted that Defendant didn’t tell his psychologist about the sex offenses during that treatment.

Defendant appealed the decision, arguing that the terms of his release were not reasonably related to the car-jacking offense for which he was convicted. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the decision. The court said the treatment and other requirements were sufficiently related to Defendant’s overall criminal history and could be considered reasonable for public safety purposes. It also said the forced treatment and restrictions on contact with minors were justified based on the “heinous nature” of Defendant’s sex offenses.

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Florida sex crimes are often prosecuted in state courts as violations of state law. It is important to understand, however, that federal criminal laws also prohibit a wide range of sex crimes. Those laws often come into play when one person crosses a state border as part of the crime, as a recent case out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit shows.A defendant was charged with enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity, a federal crime, stemming from his involvement with a 17-year-old girl. The defendant, who was 36 years old at the time, drove from Georgia to Florida to meet the girl after communicating with her online. He took the girl to a hotel and allegedly engaged in sexual activity with her. He also took 17 photos of the girl engaging in sexual activity and posing nude, according to the court. He tried to delete those photos when he was arrested, but officers later recovered the pictures during a forensic examination of his cell phone. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

The defendant later appealed the conviction to the Eleventh Circuit. The federal law under which he was convicted makes it a crime to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity “for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.” He argued that meant it only covered situations in which a person entices the minor to commit a crime. Since the victim in this case did not commit a crime by having consensual sex with him, he argued that he did not violate the federal law.

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