Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sufficient Evidence of Coercion from Sexually Explicit Message and Other Texts to Juvenile

Rounds challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for his conviction of using a facility of interstate commerce to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a juvenile to engage in sexual activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b).  He argues that the juvenile begged him to come to Odessa rather than him coercing her to engage in criminal sexual activity.  The panel notes, however, that the juvenile’s intent is not at issue.  The question of whether inducement, persuasion, or enticement exists is a question for the trier of fact, and, here, there was a sexually-explicit message and other text messages designed to have the juvenile return to him.  That was sufficient evidence of the charged offense.
Rounds also challenged venue in the Western District of Texas.  The panel found that the Government established venue because the phone calls and text messages that were part of the § 2422(b) offense were sent to a juvenile located in the Western District of Texas even though Rounds was elsewhere. 
The panel rejected Rounds’ other arguments regarding a late-disclosed witness and exhibit (counsel was given a brief continuance and said he was ready to proceed), a Brady violation (no showing that the evidence was exculpatory), and the warrantless search of his cell phone (the district court concluded that he consented to the search).



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