On February 24, 2011, in U.S. v. Lynn, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal held that the defendant’s sentences  for both receiving and possessing child porn based on the same underlying conduct violated double jeopardy.

In May 2008, federal agents entered defendant Ryan Lynn’s home and seized his laptop. Forensic analysis revealed 184 video files and 53 images of child pornography downloaded via peer-to-peer sharing.

Lynn was convicted of receiving child porn (18 USC 2252(a)(2)) and possessing child porn (18 USC 2252(a)(4)(b)) based on his use of the peer-to-peer network to download the video and images. Lynn was sentenced to 210 months for receiving child porn, and 120 months for possessing child porn to be served concurrently.

The constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy protects defendants from being punished twice for the same criminal behavior.

The prosecutor argued that because it alleged that the receipt and possession acts happened at different times and Lynn transferred the files between file folders, no double jeopardy issues existed. The Ninth Circuit disagreed, stating that receipt and possession may happen at different times and still implicate double jeopardy. Plus, transferring the files within the same hard drive does nothing to relieve any double jeopardy issues.

Instead, the Ninth Circuit found that Lynn was being punished twice for the same underlying criminal behavior related to downloading illegal videos and images. The Ninth Circuit remanded the case so that the district court can vacate one of the sentences.

If you or someone you know has been sentenced for multiple criminal convictions related to the same underlying conduct, consult a Southern California criminal defense attorney to determine whether your constitutional rights have been violated. These sentences may add to your aggregate sentence and have other negative consequences, so contact a criminal defense lawyer to review the facts and the law so that he or she can advise you on what to do next.

If you or someone is facing criminal charges, you will need an aggressive Southern California criminal defense attorney who will scrutinize the facts and the law and present every possible defense. At Wallin & Klarich, we have helped people facing criminal charges for over 30 years. Call us today at (877) 466-5245 or visit us at our website at www.wksexcrimes.com. We will be there when you call.

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