Articles Posted in Restitution and Fines

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Just because you win, doesn’t mean you win something you want.

Gary Dudeck pled guilty to three charges: possessing child pornography, receiving child pornography, and receipt of images depicting minors engaged in sexual activity.*

The district court sentenced him to ten years on each of the three counts, and ran the sentence concurrently.

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Zoraida Pena Canal was like any other live-in nanny, except she worked from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., wasn’t allowed to talk with anyone other than the family she worked for, her employer held her passport, and she wasn’t paid for the two years she worked as a nanny.

Her employer, Mabelle Dann, was convicted at trial of document servitude in violation of 18 U.S.C. S 1592, forced labor charges in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1589, and immigration charges. She was sentenced to five years in prison.

As the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in United States v Dann, by Judge Gertner of the District of Massachusetts, sitting by designation, starts:

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Joshua Kennedy was flying into Seattle from overseas. Customs searched his laptop and found child pornography on it. The appeal of his conviction was decided today by the Ninth Circuit today in United States v. Kennedy, presenting a really interesting take on the scope of federal restitution — and the kind of harm that comes from the transportation of child pornography.

As an aside, let’s stop there for a second. Did you know that the government can search you at the border (meaning, basically, anywhere Customs has a checkpoint)? Searches of computers at the border are way more common than I suspect most people suspect. Legal challenges are being mounted.

The searches of laptops at the border are invasive. And they don’t require probable cause. Customs can search everything on your iPhone anytime you fly back from overseas. They don’t need a reason. They can just take your phone and search it. Surely the amount of our personal lives that we keep on our computers and phones counsels in favor of rethinking this rule at some point. Is there a greater threat to national security, or whatever, if I email myself a file from Paris than if I put it on a thumb drive and carry it through Customs?