In U.S. v. Frank, No. 07-13685 (March 15, 2010), the Court affirmed convictions for traveling to Cambodia and engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minor children, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2423(b) and 2251A(b)(2)(A).
The Court rejected Frank’s argument that his un-Mirandized statements to Cambodian police in Cambodia should have been suppressed. The Court noted that Miranda only applies in a foreign country if American officials are involved in the questioning or if the questioning shocks the judicial conscience; here, American officials played no role in Frank’s questioning. Moreover, Frank’s questioning did not shock the judicial conscience.
The Court also rejected Frank’s challenge to the extraterritorial application of § 2251A. The Court found that Congress intended to apply this statute extraterritorially, because it criminalized conduct by a person who “travels in foreign commerce” and engages in any illicit sexual conduct.
The Court rejected the argument that Frank was not guilty of the “purchase” of a minor for the purpose of producing a sexually explicit visual depiction, because he paid the minors directly, not a third-party. “In the context of child prostitution, the minor herself is turned into an object or commodity, by selling her body to be used by the defendant for a certain purpose.”
The Court found that the prosecutor’s reference to the defendant in closing as a “shark” was not improper because it was responding to the defense characterization of the defendant as a “dolphin.”
Turning to sentencing, the Court found no plain error in imposing multiple sentences for both traveling to Cambodia and engaging in illicit sexual conduct, even though all the criminal activity happened during one single trip.