Two new opinions, each involving a circuit split

U.S. v. Tyson—criminal—affirmance—Restrepo

Knowledge of the victim’s age is neither an element of, nor an affirmative defense to, the crimes of transporting a minor to engage in prostitution or producing child pornography, the Third Circuit held today. Thus it ruled that the district court did not err in applying Rule 403 of the federal evidentiary rules to bar the defendant from presenting a mistake-of-age defense. The court split with the Ninth Circuit on one of the points, whether mistake of age is an affirmative defense to producing child pornography.

Joining Restrepo were Chagares and Jordan. Arguing counsel were John Abom of Abom & Kutulakis for the defendant and Francis Sempa for the government.


Laurel Gardens, LLC v. McKenna—civil—partial reversal—Cowen

The Third Circuit held that the district court erred when it rejected the plaintiff’s argument that it had personal jurisdiction over certain defendants under RICO’s nationwide-jurisdiction provision, 18 USC § 1965(b). The appeal arose from a civil RICO suit involving landscaping and snow-removal businesses. The court joined the majority in a 5-2 circuit split on the question of which statutory personal-jurisdiction provision applied in civil RICO suits brought in a district with jurisdiction over at least one defendant.

Joining Cowen were Greenaway, Jr., and Porter. The case was decided without oral argument.