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Child Pornography-Related Forfeiture Order Affirmed, Plus Other Criminal and Employment Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on May 26, 2010 11:29 AM

In US v. Oaks, No. 08-2451, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm, holding that 1) there was no evidence suggesting any adverse rulings were motivated by bias on the part of the court; 2) the district court did not omit a definition of "knowingly" in its instructions; 3) defendant placed his knowledge of the firearm's presence at the scene on his person at issue by pleading not guilty to the crime and requiring the government to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; and 4) defendant's attempt to save his claim of sentencing error by characterizing it as a due process violation was unavailing because his failure to object obviated any argument he could make that the information in the presentence report was inaccurate.

US v. Hull, No. 08-4015, concerned a prosecution for distribution of child pornography.  The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order of forfeiture, holding that 1) the evidence showed a substantial connection - not merely an incidental or fortuitous relationship - between defendant's real property and the offenses; 2) because defendant's acreage was a single tract of land that was conveyed to him as a whole, the district court was correct to treat the entire acreage as a single piece of "property" when applying the statute; and 3) the relatively high recommended fine range did not suggest a minimal level of culpability, and a comparison of the forfeiture and the fine range suggested that the forfeiture was, at a minimum, presumptively not excessive.

Anderson v. Durham D&M, L.L.C., No. 09-1758, involved an action alleging race discrimination under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. section 1981, age discrimination under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA), and a racially hostile work environment under section 1981.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, on the grounds that 1) plaintiff offered little more than speculation and conjecture that fellow employees' name calling and ridicule had anything to do with race; 2) plaintiff could not show defendant's reason for terminating him as a driver--his unsafe record as a whole--was pretextual; and 3) defendant did not contest that an older driver took over his route upon his termination.

In US v. Sampson, No. 09-2872, the Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for transporting and attempting to transport child pornography in interstate commerce, and possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony, on the grounds that 1) defendant entered his guilty plea knowingly and voluntarily; 2) defendant did not provide any evidence to support his claim of innocence; 3) the district court did not err in concluding that the video that had been emailed twice should be counted that way under U.S.S.G. section 2G2.2(b)(7); and 4) the district court clearly explained and adequately justified its intention to impose a 188 month sentence.

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