In United States v. Maupin, No. 07-03341 (March 24, 2008), the Court held that a child pornography offender’s prior Florida nolo contendere plea with adjudication withheld to Florida child pornography charges counted as a prior conviction for purposes of the sentencing enhancement under 18 U.S.C. § 2252(A)(b)(1) and (b)(2).
The statute provided for enhancements for prior convictions "under the laws of any State." Maupin argued that under Florida state law, a nolo contendere plea with adjudication withheld is not considered a conviction, and that this plea should therefore not count under the federal statute. The Court rejected this argument, holding that as it had held with respect to the federal drug statute, the meaning of the word "conviction" has a federal meaning, unless Congress specifically provides otherwise. Under federal law, a nolo contendere plea with adjudication withheld counts as a prior conviction. Thus, Maupin’s prior nolo contendere plea with adjudication withheld counted as a prior conviction for federal sentencing purposes. The Court therefore affirmed the 480-month sentence.