United States v. Carpenter

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 05-22-2012
  • Case #: 10-30146
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam; Chief Judge Kozinski; Circuit Judges Tallman and Ikuta
  • Full Text Opinion

18 U.S.C. § 3509(a) defines "sexual abuse" for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 3282's extended statute of limitations. A defendant must make his desire for self-representation known in a timely and unequivocal manner.

Carpenter was convicted on five counts of child pornography. Carpenter appealed on two grounds: that the district court erred in (1) not ensuring Carpenter made a “knowing, voluntary and intelligent request for self-representation under Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975) and (2) in denying a motion to dismiss the first two counts as being barred by statute of limitations.” The Court held that Carpenter failed to invoke the right to self-representation in an unequivocal and timely manner because he did not inform counsel of the desire for self-representation until the end of the second day of trial. Additionally, the Court noted that the request was not unequivocal because Carpenter did not directly mention the desire for self-representation to present counsel or the trial judge. Carpenter also argued that Count 1, violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a) and Count 2, violation of 18 U.S.C. §2251(b) did not require physical contact with a child and, therefore, did not fall under the 18 U.S.C. § 3283 extended statute of limitations for sexual abuse of a child but under 18 U.S.C. § 3282’s five year statute of limitations which elapsed prior to Carpenter’s indictment. The Ninth Circuit held that 14 U.S.C. § 3509(a) definition of “sexual abuse” was the proper definition for determining whether § 3282’s extended statute of limitations applied. AFFIRMED.

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