Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

U.S. v. SHIELDS

April 14, 2004.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ERIC SHIELDS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MALCOLM MUIR, Senior District Judge

AMENDED ORDER

THE BACKGROUND OP THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:

On December 5, 2001, a Grand Jury sitting in the Middle District of Pennsylvania returned a one-count indictment charging Eric Shields with possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. ยง 2252A(a) (5)(B) and 2252A(b)(2).

  The charges against Shields arose out of his subscribing to two e-mail groups or websites which dealt in child pornography.*fn1 The record in this case reveals that on January 2, 2001, Shields subscribed to the "Candyman" website using as his subscriber's name and e-mail address LittleLolitaLove@aol.com. The purpose of the "Candyman" website, as stated on the website, was as follows:

  This group is for People who love kids. You can post any type of messages you like too (sic) or any type of pics and vids you like to (sic). P.S. IF WE ALL WORK TOGETHER WE WILL HAVE THE BEST GROUP ON THE NET. The theme of the "Candyman" website was echoed by a second website which Shields joined, the "Girls 12-16," which stated that its purpose was as follows:

 
Hi all, This group is for all those ho (sic) appreciate the young female in here (sic) finest form. Watching her develop and grow is like poetry in motioon (sic), to an age where she takes an interest in the joys and pleasures of sex. There is probably nothing more stimulating than watching a young teen girl discover the pleasures of the orgasm. . . . This is the place to be if you love 11 to 16 yr olds. . . .
Shields subscribed to this second website on February 6, 2001, using the same name and e-mail address.

  On November 29, 2001, agents of the FBI executed a search warrant at Shields's residence and confiscated his computer. A subsequent review of that computer disclosed that it contained hundreds of images of minor children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including images which reflected cruel sexual abuse and mistreatment of minors. The computer also contained graphic proof of Shields's receipt of pornographic e-mails in the form of numerous saved e-mails. Furthermore, agents recovered a cache of binders and notebooks filled with child pornography.

  At the time of the search agents also had an opportunity to interview Shields, After waiving his Miranda rights, Shields agreed to be interviewed by investigators and provided investigators with a handwritten statement in which he acknowledged viewing, obtaining, raceiving and possessing child pornography through his computer from the Internet. On February 27, 2002, Shields entered a plea of guilty to the one-count indictment. By order of February 28, 2002, the court directed that a presentence report be prepared and scheduled a presentence conference for May 30, 2002.

  On May 20, 2002, Shields filed a motion to continue the presentence conference for 45 days. Shields gave the following three reasons justifying a continuance of the presentence conference: (1) the evidence again, 3t Shields needed to be reviewed in light of a recent Supreme Court case which held that it is not illegal to possess virtual images of child pornography; (2) counsel's seminar and vacation schedule; and (3) the need to obtain and review a psychological evaluation of Shields. The Government concurred in the motion. By order of May 21, 2002, we granted the motion and the presentence conference was continued to July 15, 2002.

  On June 7, 2002, Shields filed a motion to continue the presentence conference scheduled for July 15, 2002, for 60 days. Shields gave the following two reasons justifying a continuance of the presentence conference: (1) a neurological evaluation of Shields needed for the completion of the psychological evaluation could not be scheduled until July 16, 2002; and (2) counsel for Shields was scheduled to participate in a workshop on "The Electronic Courtroom: Law and Technology Merge" in Boston, Massachusetts, from August 12, 2002, through August 14, 2002, and attend a family wedding in Greenfield Massachusetts from August 15, 2002, through August 18, 2002, The Government concurred in the motion. By order of June 7, 2002, we granted the motion and the presentence conference was continued to September 17, 2002.

  On September 11, 2002, Shields filed a motion to continue the presentence conference scheduled for September 17, 2002, for at least 60 days. Shields gave the following two reasons justifying a continuance of the presentence conference: (1) the investigation relating to whether Shields possessed images of identifiable children engaged in sexually explicit conduct had not been completed; and (2) alleged inaccuracies in the Search Warrant Affidavit utilized to obtain a search warrant for Shields' residence had been discovered which needed to be investigated. The Government concurred in the motion. By order of September 11, 2002, we granted the motion and the presentence conference was continued to November 19, 2002.

  On November 8, 2002, Shields filed a motion to continue the presentence conference scheduled for November 11, 2002, for at least 60 days. Shields gave the following three reasons justifying a continuance of the presentence conference: (1) to obtain and review discovery materials which had not yet been provided by the Government; (2) to request additional discovery materials in response to recent disclosures by the Government; and (3) to determine whether to file appropriate motions seeking suppression of evidence. The Government concurred in the motion. By order of November 12, 2002, we granted the motion and the presentence conference was continued to January 21, 2003. On January 16, 2003, Shields filed a motion to continue the presentence conference scheduled for January 21, 2003, sine die. Shields gave the following reason justifying a continuance of the presentence conference: to afford defense counsel ample opportunity to investigate and research the propriety of filing a suppression motion concerning the search conducted pursuant to the search warrant issued on an affidavit containing factual inaccuracies. The Government concurred in the motion. By order of January 16, 2003, we granted the motion and the presentence conference was continued sine die. Furthermore, defense counsel was directed to file a status report every 60 days until the presentence conference was rescheduled or another appropriate motion was filed.

  Status reports were filed on April 3, May 22, and July 22, 2003. On October 15, 2003, defense counsel filed a fourth status report which stated in relevant part as follows:
2. Shields' (sic) has been reporting in his prior status reports that he expected to file a Motion to Suppress Evidence, but that the government is still in the process of gathering additional discovery information which will impact on a Motion to Suppress Evidence,
3. Specifically, Shields' (sic) seeks documentation showing the e-mail delivery option which he selected from the Candyman website.
4. To date, Shields has not received any documentation showing the e-mail delivery option which he selected.
  5. First Assistant United States Attorney Martin Carlson and the undersigned continue to be engaged in discussions regarding the disposition of the instant case. By order of October 16, 2002, we issued an order establishing "a procedure to bring this matter to a conclusion." The order authorized Shields to file on or before December 16, 2003, a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. It further provided that if no such motion was filed a presentence conference would be held on Thursday, December 18, 2003, at 4:15 p.m.
  On December 16, 2003, Shields filed a motion entitled "Eric Shields' (sic) Motion to File An Addendum to the Plea Agreement to Consider Shields' (sic) Previously Entered Guilty Plea A Conditional Plea Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(a)(2)." In paragraph 34 through 37 of the motion Shields stated as follows:
34. Rather than withdraw his guilty plea, Shields wishes to amend his guilty plea to a conditional plea to permit him to challenge the constitutionality of the search warrant and to maintain the position in which he was as of the discovery of the inaccuracy in the search warrant affidavit.
35. The parties wish to file an Addendum to the Plea Agreement, setting forth that Shields' guilty plea should be considered a conditional plea of guilty and that Shields may challenge the constitutionality of the search warrant before this Honorable Court and on appeal, if necessary.
36. The parties seek until January 15, 2004, to file an executed Addendum to the Plea Agreement and Shields seeks until February 15, 2004 to file a motion related to the constitutionality of the search warrant.
37. The government concurs in this motion.
On December 17, 2003, we issued an order granting the motion. On January 12, 2004, the Government and Shields filed an addendum to the plea agreement which stated in relevant part as follows: 1. Following the entry of the guilty plea in this case, the parties received information regarding potential legal issues relating to the search warrant executed in this case. In order to preserve the defendant's right to litigate these issues, pursuant to Rule 11(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, with the approval of the court and the consent of the government, the parties agree that the defendant's guilty plea should be considered a conditional plea of guilty to the charge described in the plea ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.