Criminal Justice News and VIews

Interesting items related to criminal justice

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Location: Scottsdale, Arizona, United States

I love teaching and sharing knowledge. The Internet is a free passage to an amazing amount of knowledge provided by some of the greatest minds of the day. MIT, Oxford and other universities are now sharing lecture notes with the public and allowing us to dip into the overflowing fonts of wisdom that abound. Yale is but one university that has put actual lectures on the web.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Internet Crimes present interesting venue questions

The 2nd Circuit located in New York recently
took an appeal that raised the question of
proper venue and jurisdiction when the crime
uses the Internet as the means of commission.

It was a case of first impression.

The case involved a male member of the human species
who posted a notice in a chatroom offering to exchange on a
one-to-one basis pictures of young children. By virtue of the
other postings in the chatroom and the wording of his posting
itself, child pornography was desired.

An agent in ae Computer Crimes Unit physically located in New York
entered the chatroom and followed the directions to enter the site
where the pictures, with titles that leave no doubt as to the
content, were located.

18 U.S.C.A. ยง 2251(c) criminalizes making, printing, or
publishing notice or advertisement seeking or offering
to receive, exchange, buy, produce, display, distribute,
or reproduce, visual depiction involving use of a minor
engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Rowe who was from Kentucky was found guilty by a
New York jury and appealed on the basis of,
among other issues, jurisdiction. He claimed that
being tried in New York was a violation of his
Sixth Amendment right ("[i]n all criminal prosecutions,
the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,
by an impartial jury of the State and district
wherein the crime shall have been committed...")

Venue is also mentioned in Article 3 section 2 which states that
"Trial of all Crimes ... shall be held in the State where the
said Crimes shall have been committed ...."

But with the Internet the "crime" itself can take place anywhere
in the world. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that where a crime
consists of different parts with different localities, the crime
may be charged in any of those localities. In this instance the court
used the location of the computer from which the agent entered the
chatroom and subsequently Mr. Rowe's private computer

The Internet has created a new legal specialty involving computer
crimes. File sharing and hacking have been featured in the news
as courts dealt with these issues -- The United States Supreme Court
itself dealt with the sharing of copyrighted files at the end of the Term.

This case was a good example of how the law evolves as statutes are
interpreted and facts in situations never considered are found to
fit the criminal action described.