Standard motion in CP cases

Here, from Prof. Berman TG at Sentencing Law & Policy is a reminder about evidence in CP cases.  I think most of us already do this, and a number of prosecutors already think of this.

A notable Third Circuit panel ruling today in US v. Cunningham, No. 10-4021 (3d Cir. Sept. 18, 2012) (avalable here), highlights the challenges (and the truly disgusting nature) of some federal child pornography prosecutions. Here is how the lengthy opinion gets started:

David Cunningham appeals the September 27, 2010 judgment of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania sentencing him to 210 months’ imprisonment and 20 years’ supervised release based on his conviction for the receipt and distribution of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2).  At trial, the District Court allowed the government, over Cunningham’s objection, to show the jury two videos containing seven different video clips totaling approximately two minutes as a sample of the child pornography that gave rise to the charges.  Cunningham contends that, because the Court permitted the videos to be shown without first viewing the videos to determine whether the danger of unfair prejudice substantially outweighed their probative value, the Court erred and his conviction must be reversed.  We agree that the District Court abused its discretion, not only by failing to review the videos prior to admitting them but also by allowing all of those videos to be shown to the jury, because the highly inflammatory nature of two of them clearly and substantially outweighed their probative value pertaining to the crimes charged.  Those errors were not harmless, and we will therefore vacate and remand for a new trial.

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