Fifth Circuit - Sex Offenses

United States v. Mecham, 950 F.3d 257 (5th Cir. 2020). The four-level sadistic material enhancement at §2G2.2(b)(4)(A) could not apply to pornographic photos of adults with superimposed images of the minor victim’s faces to make it appear the children were engaged in sexual activity. A reasonable viewer would not have concluded that the images depicted the contemporaneous infliction of pain.

United States v. Haas , 986 F.3d 467 (4th Cir. 2021). The court erred in applying the four-level enhancement at §2G2.1 for an offense involving a minor under 12 years of age based on a private citizen representing that a fictitious child could be made available for sexual activity. The guideline refers only to “law enforcement officer[s]” and not to private citizens “with no semblance of official authority”.

Training Topic: