Home > News > Federal Court Tosses Child Porn Guilty Plea • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

NEWS STORY

Federal Court Tosses Child Porn Guilty Plea

Get XBIZ News
Sep 3, 2004 10:25 AM PDT    Text size: 
SAN FRANCISCO — A fedesal appeals court has overturned the conditional guilty plea of a Washington man who admitted to possessing child porn but sought to suppress images from his computer.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday that a U.S. District Court erred in refusing to suppress evidence seized from appellant Micah Gourde’s computer as an FBI affidavit failed to link his membership to a mixed child and adult porn website and his possession of child porn.

Gourde, of Castle Rock, Wash., had been charged with one count of possession of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

He admitted to possessing more than 100 images of child pornography on his home computer; however, Gourde conditioned his guilty plea on his right to appeal the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress the images seized from his computer.

Thursday’s decision ruled for Gourde, who contended that the FBI acted “objectively unreasonable in relying on the allegedly unlawful warrant.”

The FBI built its case based on an investigation of Lolitagurls.com.

Acting in an undercover capacity, an FBI agent discovered Lolitagurls.com, which described itself on its homepage as site that offered “hard to find pics! With weekly updates and high quality pics inside, you cant go wrong if you like young girls!”

Lolitagurls.com was touted as having “over one thousand pictures of girls ages 12-17!”

The site, costing $19.95 a month, contained adult pornography, child porn and child erotica, according to an FBI affidavit, which noted that some of the images the agent downloaded depicted sexually explicit poses of naked young girls.

Subsequently the owner of the site, Keith Fields of Hiawatha, Iowa, provided information through a federal grand jury subpoena on members of Lolitagurls.com after his arrest.

Among the records obtained, the FBI discovered information regarding Gourde and his email address, gilbert_95@yahoo.com.

Gourde had, according to FBI records, been a member of Lolitagurls.com from November 2001 through January 2002.

But in Thursday’s ruling, the court found that the FBI did not corroborate evidence linking his membership to the site and Gourde’s probable possession of child pornography.

“[T]he officers had ample opportunity to analyze the server seized from the owner of Lolitagurls.com,” Judge Melvin Brunetti wrote for the majority in the opinion. “Because the officers failed … to present other target-specific corroborating information linking Gourde’s two-month membership to a mixed child pornography/adult pornography website to his probable possession of child pornography, they acted objectively unreasonably in applying for and executing the warrant at issue.”

However, Judge Ronald M. Gould, who concurred in the 3-0 panel decision, noted that the legal system impedes legitimate law enforcement efforts to cut off the demand and thereby affect the supply of child pornography.

“We do a disservice to one of the most vulnerable segments of our society,” Gould wrote. “It is too bad that the 9th Circuit’s prior precedents on searches for child pornography impose a more rigorous test for probable cause than that called for by common sense and common experience.”

“It would be better if we rethought and reformulated the requirements of our [federal appellate] law,” Gould said.

The case is United States vs. Michah J. Gourde, No. 03-30262

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !

OPINIONS & VIEWS

How Advertisers Use Your Devices to Sell You Stuff

The paranoia has reached an all-time high. Now some people actually believe that their microwave ovens are spying on them — despite the fact they don’t have any listening devices or cameras.... More »

As Mobile Grows, So Does Need to Push Sales

The number of consumers browsing and buying online will reach 270 million by 2020, driven largely by activity on mobile devices, according to Forrester. Business is booming and the fact that most purchases... More »

With AI, Routine Tasks Start Fading Away

I just turned 42. The list of things I may never do again is growing fast. I no longer dream that I will become an Olympian in any sport except archery or horseback riding. The oldest Olympians in those... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Access the latest issues of the industry's leading trade publications in digital form. View online or download for offline viewing.

UPCOMING EVENTS

XBIZ.net Paysite Meetup

May 04 - May 04
Prague, Czech Republic

Eurowebtainment 2017

May 17 - May 20
Majorca, Spain

XBIZ Retreat

May 30 - Jun 03
Miami, Florida

XBIZ Miami 2017

May 30 - Jun 02
Miami, Florida
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!