Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Deverso: Mistake of Age not a 2252 defense

In U.S. v. Deverso, No. 06-16048 (March 5, 2008), the Court affirmed convictions for using a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct outside the United States for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct within the United States.
The Court found that the birth certificate of a victim in the Philippines was adequately authenticated, as a foreign public document under FRE 902(3). Here, a government agent testified that he obtained the certificate from the Philippine National Census and Statistics Office and that he had the copy authenticated and certified at the United States Embassy in Manila. The document itself was accompanied by certificates from Embassy official verifying the document’s authenticity.
The Court rejected the defendant’s argument that he was entitled to a "mistake of age" jury instruction. The Court noted that the statute contained no element requiring the defendant to know the age of the victim, and added that the Constitution did not require such an element to be included in the statute.