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February 29, 2012

Trio of noteworthy defense losses today in the Seventh Circuit

Earlier this week in this post, I reported on a trio of recent Sixth Circuit published sentencing opinions in child porn cases in which the defendants all lost.  Today, it is the Seventh Circuit delivering a troika of notable criminal law opinions.  A quick account of just the basics of each decision should be more than enough to whet appettites. 

Remarkably, the least notable of today's trio involved an affirmance of a very long kiddie porn sentence in US v. Klug, No. 11-1339 (7th Cir. Feb. 29, 2012) (available here), which starts this way:

Joseph E. Klug pleaded guilty to producing and possessing child pornography. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 2251(a), 2252(a)(4)(B).  After calculating an imprisonment range of life, the district court sentenced Klug to a total of 384 months.  On appeal, Klug argues that his prison sentence is unreasonably long. We affirm the judgment.

Next up is a case, US v. Lucas, No.11-1339 (7th Cir. Feb. 29, 2012) (available here), which starts with facts that would almost be funny if not so troubling:

Following a dispute over stolen “gold” in an online video game, Trevor Lucas devised an incredibly detailed and disturbing plan over the course of a year and a half to get revenge on the would-be “thief,” CG, a minor living with his mother in Wisconsin.  Lucas discovered CG’s home address, drove twenty hours to CG’s home, and impersonated a law enforcement officer in an attempt to lure CG out of the house and kidnap him.  When CG’s mother refused to allow Lucas into the house, he attempted to gain entry by pointing a handgun directly at her face.  But CG’s mother quickly slammed the front door before he could react, and Lucas fled while she called police.  He was eventually arrested in his home state of Massachusetts.  Lucas pled guilty to brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence and the district court sentenced him to 210 months’ imprisonment.  He now appeals his sentence, presenting a barrage of arguments claiming the district court committed error at sentencing and the sentence was substantively unreasonable.  We find none of these contentions meritorious, and accordingly affirm Lucas’s sentence.

Finally, US v. Flores-Lopez, No. 10-3803 (7th Cir. Feb. 29, 2012) (available here), seems likely to get the most attention of the bunch, not only because it is authored by Judge Posner, but also because it gets off to this start:

This appeal requires us to consider the circumstances in which the search of a cell phone is permitted by the Fourth Amendment even if the search is not authorized by a warrant. Lurking behind this issue is the question whether and when a laptop or desktop computer, tablet, or other type of computer (whether called a “computer” or not) can be searched without a warrant — for a modern cell phone is a computer.

February 29, 2012 at 03:17 PM | Permalink


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It is demeaning to victims of the production of child pornography to refer to it as "kiddie porn." That suggests it is something to joke about. Regardless of what one thinks of the Sentencing Guidelines with respect to these offenses, child pornography should be referred to as child pornography (the legal term, defined in 18 U.S.C. 2256), or what it is--images of sexual abuse.

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 29, 2012 6:57:21 PM

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