Criminal Law News - U.S. Eleventh Circuit
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The Eleventh Circuit recently upheld the conviction of "an international sex trafficker named 'Drac' (short for Dracula) who sometimes dressed up as a vampire, complete with yellow contact lenses and gold-plated fangs." Drac, also known as Damion St. Patrick Baston, a Jamaican pimp with a theatrical side, was convicted for sex trafficking across the globe, from Florida, to Australia, to the United Arab Emirates. Baston's criminal inspiration wasn't limited to Nosferatu, either. Baston taught himself to pimp by studying Pimpology, a how-to by "Pimpin' Ken."

Let's sink our teeth into this surprisingly true story, shall we?

11th Cir. Upholds Maximum Sentence for Career Felon

Ricardo Lenin Osorio-Moreno is not a nice person. Troubling childhood aside, his criminal history began at the age of 15 with crimes of grand theft, burglary, armed robbery, and possession; he was a fast learner in the art of being a career criminal. In fact, his rap sheet is so long, it's one of those things you have to see to believe. The Eleventh Circuit Court opinion is approximately 11 pages long: Osorio's detailed convictions take at least half of the opinion text.

The lower district court ratcheted up his sentence in prison to 120 months after the latest episode of a run in with the law. The circuit court affirmed the lower court's decision with all its blessing.

Step-Dad Videotapes Daughter Nude: Yes, That's Child Porn, Court Rules

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals was quick to conclude that a step-father who surreptitiously made video records in his step-daughter's bathroom activities was guilty of producing a form of child pornography. The court slapped him with harsh penalties, including an order to register as a sex-offender.

The crux of the matter turned on the issue: Is lascivious exhibition for the purposes of child pornography met when the child is unaware that his or her private area is being recorded for later viewing by a third party? The answer is a resounding "Yes."

Execution in Alabama After 11th Cir. Denies Death Row Inmate's Stay

Yesterday, January 21, 2016, death row inmate Christopher Eugene brooks died by lethal injection for the rape and killing of a Homewood, Alabama woman in 1992. The Eleventh Circuit denied his denied his request for a stay of his execution, and the clock is running.

Since SCOTUS didn't step in to hear his case, his death marks the first lethal injection death in Alabama ever since the state changed the composition of its lethal injection cocktail. The recipe of that fatal brew is itself a matter of much contention.

A lifetime ban on Internet and pornography is not unreasonable punishment for a man caught sharing child pornography, the Eleventh Circuit ruled on Wednesday. In 2013, Glen Sterling Carpenter was caught downloading and possessing child pornography. He was sentenced to eight years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release.

That release included two special conditions: Carpenter may never again possess a device capable of connecting to the Internet and he many never posses any sexually explicit material whatsoever. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit upheld his punishment, finding nothing unreasonable about it.

Seven prison officers who had been accused of showing deliberate indifference to an inmate's suicide are protected by qualified immunity, the Eleventh Circuit ruled on Wednesday. After Darius James killed himself while awaiting trial, his mother sued the officers, alleging that they knew of James' suicide risk and did nothing.

James' mother had failed to show that individual officers had a subjective knowledge of the risk of suicide, the Eleventh Circuit found. While there was circumstantial evidence that prison officials generally may have been aware of James' suicide risk and may have mishandled his care, there was not enough evidence specific to the officers to counteract their qualified immunity.

If you sabotage your own trial, don't expect a successful appeal in the Eleventh. That's the lesson a Georgia man who stole over $4 million in a yearlong credit card scam learned the hard way, recently.

Jean-Daniel Perkins attempted to avoid conviction by refusing counsel and not attending his trial. Perkins thought he had found "one weird trick" to beat the legal system. And now, judges do hate him, and his tricks didn't work.


Don Siegelman, the former Governor of Alabama, lost his motion for a new trial last week. Siegelman was convicted of bribery, mail fraud and obstruction of justice in 2006, following an investigation that many Democrats argued was politically motivated, but which Republicans claimed revealed extensive corruption.

After a series of appeals, Siegelman moved for a new trial, based on allegations that U.S. Attorney Leura Canary participated in his prosecution after she had disqualified herself due to conflicts of interest. The Eleventh Circuit rejected his claims, finding that Canary's involvement did not deprive him of his right to a disinterested prosecutor.

11th Cir. Affirms Restitution for Minor Sexual Abuse Victim

Over the course of a few years, a high school student named J.S. began having a sexual relationship with his teacher, Thomas Keelan. Suspecting an inappropriate relationship, J.S.'s parents enrolled him in a treatment program. After completing the program, J.S. decided to cooperate with law enforcement.

J.S. made a wiretapped phone call to Keelan, who then drove down to Florida to have sex. Guess what? Busted!

En Banc Panel Says No Privacy Right in Historical Cell Site Data

After a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit ruled that there was a Fourth Amendment right to privacy in historical cell site data, the government requested and was granted an en banc rehearing.

Yesterday, the en banc court reversed the panel and found that there is no constitutional right to privacy in historical location information because cell phone location information is voluntarily conveyed to a third party -- the phone company.