Does 18 U.S. Code 2251A apply extraterritorially

Thanks to OpinoJuris for pointing us to the 11th Circuit decision in United States v. Frank.  You will recollect that CAAF has found that the CP related statutes don’t apply overseas.  Here is part of the OJ summary.

The Eleventh Circuit upheld the conviction finding that (1) Miranda warnings were unnecessary; (2) the statute applied extraterritorially; and (3) the “purchase” of a child may occur through payment directly to the child, rather than a third party.

The Court found that generally, “statements obtained by foreign officers conducting interrogations in their own nations have been held admissible despite a failure to give Miranda warnings to the accused.” The reasoning behind this rule is that the exclusion of evidence by an American court has little to no deterrent effect on foreign police practices. That is, our “Constitution cannot compel such specific, affirmative action by foreign sovereigns.” Moreover, the joint venture exception does not apply because American officials did not know of Frank’s presence in Cambodia until after he was arrested and did not participate in Frank’s detention or interrogation.

Seems to me the result would be the same in a court-martial where the issue could be Article 31, UCMJ, as well as Miranda.

As for the extraterritorial application of the statute, the Court found that because Section 2251A requires that in the course of the prohibited conduct, the defendant or minor “travel[ ] in … interstate or foreign commerce,” Congress plainly intended that the statute sweep broadly and apply extraterritorially. The language of § 2251A requiring travel in foreign commerce, the broad sweep warranted by child pornography offenses, and Congress’s repeated efforts to prevent exploiters of children from evading criminal punishment demonstrate that Congress intended § 2251A to apply extraterritorially. Moreover, such an intent is consistent with international law, which permits jurisdiction under the “nationality” principle.

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