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United States v. Charles

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 11, 2018

United States of America Plaintiff- Appellee
v.
Deuvontay Shelby Charles Defendant-Appellant United States of America Plaintiff- Appellee
v.
Deuvontay Shelby Charles Defendant-Appellant

          Submitted: March 15, 2018

          Appeals from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - St. Paul

          Before GRUENDER, MURPHY, and KELLY, Circuit Judges. [*]

          KELLY, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         A jury convicted Deuvontay Charles of two counts of sex trafficking by use of force, threat, fraud, or coercion; three counts of sex trafficking of a minor; twelve counts of producing child pornography of minors; two counts of receiving child pornography; and one count of commission of a felony offense involving a minor while required to register as a sex offender.

         The district court sentenced Charles to 432 months in prison and 20 years of supervised release; it also ordered restitution. Charles appeals, arguing that (1) the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence from his cell phones; (2) the evidence was insufficient for the jury to find him guilty of committing a felony offense involving a minor while required to register as a sex offender; and (3) the district court's award of restitution was improper. We affirm Charles's convictions and the order of restitution to K.M.L., but vacate the order of restitution to Anoka County.

         I.

         In the summer of 2015, the mother of victim K.M.L. contacted the Anoka County police department because she was concerned that Charles was recruiting her daughter to engage in prostitution. K.M.L.'s mother showed Detective Michael Schantzen Facebook messages between Charles and K.M.L. in which Charles asked her to work for him, told her to call him "daddy," and promised her she would be able to make a lot of money. After obtaining a warrant, Schantzen gained access to records from Charles's Facebook account. These records revealed that Charles was recruiting or had recruited other juvenile girls for sex trafficking. He had also induced girls to produce sexually-explicit images and videos to send to him.

         Despite the fact that Charles was required to register on the Minnesota Predatory Offender Registry (MPOR) due to a 2014 Minnesota conviction for soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct, it was not immediately clear to Schantzen where Charles lived. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension MPOR website listed two addresses for Charles-one in Minnesota, which Schantzen determined did not physically exist, the other in Dickinson, North Dakota. Schantzen learned from the Dickinson Police Department that Charles had not been to the North Dakota address in two months.

         Charles's Facebook records, however, made 15 references to an address on Thomas Avenue North in Minneapolis. Charles mentioned on Facebook that he was staying with his grandma and sister at the Thomas Avenue address. Schantzen confirmed that a male and a female with the last name of Charles lived at the Thomas Avenue address and that both were old enough to potentially be Charles's grandparents. Schantzen also reviewed the IP logs associated with Charles's Facebook account, obtained records on Charles's cell site information from Verizon, and conducted surveillance of the Thomas Avenue address. Based on this investigation, Schantzen obtained a warrant to search the Thomas Avenue address.

         The police executed the search warrant on September 1, 2015. They arrested Charles and seized and searched three of his cell phones. Two of the phones contained child pornography videos and images of the victims. Prior to trial, Charles moved to suppress evidence seized from these cell phones. After a hearing at which Schantzen testified, the district court denied the motion.

         At the close of the government's evidence at trial, Charles moved for judgment of acquittal under Rule 29, stating specifically that there was insufficient evidence for a jury to convict him of the sex trafficking and production and receipt of child pornography charges. The district court denied his motion. A jury convicted Charles on the charges listed above.[1]

         Prior to sentencing, K.M.L. and her mother submitted a declaration of victim losses and a victim impact statement to the probation office. K.M.L. requested $2, 919 in restitution for (1) payments for K.M.L.'s cell phone, which was taken and used as evidence; (2) K.M.L.'s mother's mileage to visit K.M.L. while she was hospitalized or in treatment; and (3) the cost of K.M.L.'s residential treatment that K.M.L's mother was responsible for paying. As proof of the residential treatment costs, K.M.L. submitted a Statement of Claim and Summons from Anoka County indicating that the total cost of K.M.L.'s treatment was $29, 420 and that Anoka County had sued K.M.L.'s mother for $2, 244 of the treatment costs. Anoka County did not submit a separate request for restitution. The district court heard argument about restitution at sentencing, but deferred making an order of restitution in order to allow the parties to submit additional briefing. The court then sentenced Charles to 432 months in prison and ...


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