United States v. Eller

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 01-25-2023
  • Case #: 20-10425
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Owens, C.J. for the Court; Bybee, C.J.; Collins, D.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) is applicable to a defendant who uses an adult proxy in the coercion of minors because the statute’s purpose would be wholly frustrated if liability could be avoided through the use of an intermediary. United States v. Macapagal, 56 F.4th 742, 744 (9th Cir. 2022).

Investigators discovered Eller negotiated with foreign intermediaries for access to live pornography involving minors. Eller was convicted under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2422(b) for attempted coercion and enticement of a child. Eller appealed his convictions based on insufficient evidence. Eller argued that he had only communicated with adult intermediaries and that the communications were not intended to “persuade, induce, entice or coerce [the] minors.” Defendants who used an intermediary in the coercion of minors can still be found guilty because the purpose of the statute would be frustrated if individuals could avoid liability through the use of a middleman. United States v. Macapagal, 56 F.4th 742, 744 (9th Cir. 2022). The Court held that Eller’s actions were of the specific conduct that § 2422(b) was designed to protect against. Specifically, the Court held that communication through a middleman was irrelevant and the communications sufficiently constituted persuasion. The Court reasoned that because the messages negotiated cost based on the acts Eller requested the minors to perform, there was sufficient evidence to indicate that Eller’s use of money persuaded the adult intermediaries and, in turn, the children. AFFIRMED. 

Advanced Search

Back to Top