685 F.3d 1237 (11th Cir. 2012), 10-14794, United States v. Daniels

Docket Nº:10-14794.
Citation:685 F.3d 1237
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM:
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Robert DANIELS, a.k.a. Twin T, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Anne Ruth Schultz, Jonathan Colan, Wifredo A. Ferrer, Harriett Galvin, Sean Thomas McLaughlin, Lisette Marie Reid, Kathleen Mary Salyer, Sivashree Sundaram, U.S. Attys., Miami, FL, for Plaintiff-Appellee. Tracy Michele Dreispul, Jan Christopher Smith, II, Michael Caruso, Aimee Ferrer, Samuel J. R...
Judge Panel:Before TJOFLAT, PRYOR and FAY, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:July 02, 2012
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
 
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685 F.3d 1237 (11th Cir. 2012)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Robert DANIELS, a.k.a. Twin T, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 10-14794.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.

July 2, 2012

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Anne Ruth Schultz, Jonathan Colan, Wifredo A. Ferrer, Harriett Galvin, Sean Thomas McLaughlin, Lisette Marie Reid,

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Kathleen Mary Salyer, Sivashree Sundaram, U.S. Attys., Miami, FL, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Tracy Michele Dreispul, Jan Christopher Smith, II, Michael Caruso, Aimee Ferrer, Samuel J. Randall, Fed. Pub. Defenders, Fed. Pub. Defender's Office, Miami, FL, for Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Before TJOFLAT, PRYOR and FAY, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

Following a jury trial, Robert Daniels, a/k/a " Twin T" (" Daniels" ), appeals his convictions and sentences for the following: 1) using a facility and means of interstate commerce to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any individual who had not attained the age of eighteen, to engage in prostitution and any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) (" Count I" ); and 2) knowingly transporting an individual in interstate commerce with the intent that she engage in prostitution and any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2421-22 (" Count III" ).1 Daniels was sentenced to concurrent 78-month terms as to both Counts I and III, to be served consecutively to a prior sentence imposed by the Eastern District of Michigan.2 On appeal, Daniels raises six issues. The primary issue is one of first impression for the Eleventh Circuit: whether a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) requires the government to prove that the defendant knew that the victim was a minor. We decline to find knowledge a requirement under § 2422(b). It is our conclusion that this statute is written for the protection of minors caught in the web of these illicit activities, rather than for offenders choosing to turn a blind eye to the age of the victims they transport. Moreover, we find no merit in the other five issues Daniels raises and affirm his convictions.

I. Background and Procedural History

On July 18, 2008, a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida returned a three-count indictment against Daniels, charging as follows:

Count I: From in or about September 2004, ... through on or about October 30, 2004, in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties and elsewhere, Daniels, using a facility and means of interstate commerce, did knowingly persuade, induce, entice, and coerce an individual who had not attained the age of eighteen (" A.W." ),3 to engage in prostitution and any sexual activity for which a person can be charged with a criminal offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b).

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Count II: On or about October 30, 2004, in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties in the Southern District of Florida and elsewhere, Daniels did knowingly, in and affecting interstate commerce, recruit, transport and provide by any means, A.W., knowing she had not attained the age of eighteen and would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2421.

Count III: On or about October 30, 2004, in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, in the Southern District of Florida and elsewhere, Daniels did knowingly transport A.W. in interstate commerce with the intent that she engage in prostitution, and in any sexual activity for which a person can be charged with a criminal offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2421-22.

After the government's case in chief, Daniels moved for a judgment of acquittal, arguing that there was no evidence showing that Daniels knew or believed that A.W. was under eighteen. The court denied that motion, and the defense subsequently rested without presenting any evidence. The jury then convicted Daniels on Counts I and III, and acquitted him on Count II. On September 30, 2010,4 the district court sentenced Daniels to 78 months' imprisonment, to run consecutively to an undischarged term of imprisonment from his convictions in the Eastern District of Michigan.5 This appeal followed.

A. Government's Evidence at Trial

As we must, we consider the factual testimony adduced at trial in the light most favorable to the government. See United States v. Glen-Archila, 677 F.2d 809, 812 (11th Cir.1982). Accordingly, the record reflects the following facts:

At all times relevant to this case, Daniels was a pimp. Beginning in late 2003, Daniels began managing one prostitute, Stephanie Head, a/k/a " Chocolate" (" Head" ). Daniels managed Head's prostitution activities from the time she was 18 years old. At that time, she was working as a prostitute in Detroit. Daniels also managed other prostitutes. In exchange for the money each prostitute gained from selling her body, Daniels would provide housing, food, clothes, and some money. Eventually, Head became Daniels's " bottom girl," meaning that she earned the most money and was respected and trusted above Daniels's other prostitutes.

In September 2004, Daniels and Head drove from Detroit, Michigan to Miami, Florida for purposes of prostitution. They were accompanied by another pimp, Dennis Paige, a/k/a " Detroit Slim" (" Paige" ), and a prostitute he managed named " Womp." Head and Womp engaged in prostitution along the way in such cities as Atlanta, Orlando, and Miami.

The group reached Miami in October 2004. When they arrived, they stayed at a Days Inn on Miami Beach, where Paige and Womp stayed in one room, while Daniels and Head stayed in another. On one

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particular day in Miami, while Daniels was riding in a white Cadillac Escalade being driven by Paige, they encountered A.W. walking down Biscayne Boulevard. A.W. was then 14 years old. Daniels, after speaking with A.W., convinced her to " leave with him" and become a prostitute under his management.

When Daniels and A.W. returned to the Days Inn, Daniels introduced her to Head. Although A.W. had already been working as a prostitute when Daniels found her, Head explained to A.W. the details of working for Daniels and what would be expected of her. For example, Head briefed her on necessary hygiene, the appropriate prices to charge for certain services, and " just how to act with a trick." Womp was also present during these conversations. At that time, there was no mention of A.W.'s age.

Soon afterwards, the group of pimps and prostitutes left the Days Inn in Miami Beach and traveled to Fort Lauderdale, where Head and A.W. continued to work as prostitutes for Daniels. It was in Fort Lauderdale that Head first learned of A.W.'s age, after receiving a text message on her cellular phone from Head's boyfriend.6 Head, however, could not recall if she conveyed that information to Daniels.

Problems were brewing between Head and A.W. They did not like each other and frequently argued. To diffuse the situation, Daniels arranged to sell A.W. to another pimp. He called Robert Lipsey, a/k/a " Fat Daddy" (" Lipsey" ), on Lipsey's cellular telephone to sell him A.W. Daniels, who was still in Florida, told Lipsey, then in Tennessee, that he was having issues with A.W., who was not getting along with Head, his " bottom girl." Daniels described A.W. to Lipsey as " young, thick, and cute." Lipsey agreed to pay Daniels $200 for A.W., who would then become his prostitute. Lipsey did not have any other prostitutes working for him at that time, as his last prostitute " grew up" and left him.

Daniels and Paige took A.W. to the bus station in Miami, Florida, where she boarded a bus bound for Memphis, Tennessee. When she arrived at the Memphis bus station, A.W. called Lipsey on his cellular phone. Lipsey, along with a partner, came to pick her up. A.W. identified herself to Lipsey as " Tiffany Thomas," the name on her bus ticket. From the bus station, they drove to a hotel room in West Memphis, Arkansas. There, Lipsey taught A.W. " the rules" of working at a truck stop, which included walking around until a truck driver provided her with a " safe house." 7 In addition, Lipsey told A.W. how to talk " really sexy" on a CB radio, how to describe herself, how to watch out for the police, and how much to charge her customers. After receiving payment, A.W. gave Lipsey the entirety of the money she earned and in return, Lipsey bought A.W. hygiene products, condoms, food, and clothing.

Lipsey knew that A.W. was under eighteen because she came across as childish and young; she not only appeared young, but also acted young. When Lipsey asked A.W. her age, though, she told him she was nineteen years old. Only later, when she turned fifteen, did she tell Lipsey her true age.

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B. Jury Instructions

Prior to trial, Daniels submitted proposed jury instructions asking that the jury be instructed with respect to Count I, " that the Defendant believed that A.W. was less than eighteen (18) years of age." The government argued that the jury should instead be instructed pursuant to the Eleventh Circuit Pattern Jury Instructions, which do not require the defendant to know that the victim was under eighteen, but only that the victim was actually under eighteen. Daniels acknowledged that the relevant pattern jury instructions did not require knowledge of the victim's age, but argued that under other circuit decisions, 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) contained a mens rea requirement as to the age element. 8 After analyzing the language of § 2422(b), the district court determined that the knowledge element did not apply to the victim's age, and gave the jury the pattern instruction...

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