Monday, July 12, 2021

US v. Lopez, No. 19-10017 (7-6-21)(Bea w/Wallace; partial dissent by Bennett).  This is an appeal from a conviction of an attempt to entice a minor to engage in prohibited sexual activity and an attempt to transfer obscenity to a minor under 16 in violation of 18 USC 2422(b) and 1470. The defendant was an Airman stationed in Guam, and the activities occurred there and on the base. The 9th in an issue of first impression, under the Assimilative Crimes Act, holds jurisdiction is present if any offense could have been charged; not necessarily if the person could have committed it. The issue revolves whether an act was to take place on base, which would make it Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction, or off base, which is Assimilative Act Jurisdiction. Dissenting, Bennett argues the majority improperly amends the indictment.  The indictment handed down had jurisdiction premised on acts on the base, which is a different jurisdictional basis.

The panel all agreed that error occurred in not admitting sections of the videotaped confession that put statements in context.  FRE 106 (completeness) required it. The error though was harmless, given the defendant’s testimony and evidence.

Valiant fight by Joshua Weiss, Deputy Federal Public Defender, FPD Cal Central (Los Angeles).

The decision is here:


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