U.S. v. Polizzi, No. 06-CR-22 (JBW).

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
Writing for the CourtJack B. Weinstein
Citation549 F.Supp.2d 308
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, v. Peter POLIZZI, Defendant.
Docket NumberNo. 06-CR-22 (JBW).
Decision Date01 April 2008
549 F.Supp.2d 308
UNITED STATES of America,
v.
Peter POLIZZI, Defendant.
No. 06-CR-22 (JBW).
United States District Court, E.D. New York.
April 1, 2008.

Page 309

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 310

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 311

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 312

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 313

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 314

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 315

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 316

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 317

Benton J. Campbell, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, by Allen Lee Bode, for the Government.

Mitchell J. Dinnerstein, Esq., Thomas Eddy, on the Brief, for Defendant Peter Polizzi.

MEMORANDUM, ORDER & JUDGMENT

JACK B. WEINSTEIN, Senior District Judge:


 TABLE OF CONTENTS
                 I. Introduction........................................................................... 319
                 A. Constitutionality of Statute....................................................... 320
                 B. Unconstitutional Denial of Jury's Broad Power to Refuse Conviction................. 322
                 II. Facts................................................................................. 323
                 A. Defendant and the Crime........................................................... 323
                 1. Childhood Sexual Abuse in Sicily.............................................. 324
                 2. Resulting Psychological Trauma................................................ 325
                 B. Procedure......................................................................... 326
                 1. Investigation ................................................................ 326
                 2. Arrest........................................................................ 327
                 3. Indictment.................................................................... 329
                 4. Motion to Dismiss Indictment................................................... 329
                 5. Jury Charge.................................................................... 330
                 a. Affirmative Defense of Insanity............................................ 330
                 b. Mandatory Minimum Sentence................................................. 330
                 6. Trial.......................................................................... 331
                 a. Polizzi's Testimony........................................................ 332
                 b. Dr. Lisa Cohen............................................................. 333
                 c. Dr. Eric Goldsmith ........................................................ 334
                 d. Dr. N.G. Berrill .......................................................... 337
                 7. Jury Verdict................................................................... 339
                 8. Post-Verdict Proceedings....................................................... 339
                III. Constitutional Objections to the Statute .............................................. 341
                 A. Fundamental Problem with Passive Receiving and Possessing Without Evil
                 Intent as Charged Under Statute................................................... 341
                

Page 318

 1. Generally...................................................................... 341
                 2. Definitions ................................................................... 343
                 3. Operative Elements of the Receipt and Possession Statutes...................... 345
                 4. X-Citement Video .............................................................. 349
                 5. X-Citement Video Does Not Control.............................................. 351
                 6. Overbreadth.................................................................... 353
                 7. Precedent...................................................................... 354
                 a. Defining "Receipt" and "Possession"........................................ 355
                 b. Inferring Intent from Non-Operative Facts.................................. 357
                 8. Remedy......................................................................... 358
                 B. Cruel and Unusual Punishment....................................................... 358
                 1. Is the Punishment Cruel?........................................................ 359
                 2. Is the Punishment Unusual?...................................................... 360
                 C. Disproportionate Penalty .......................................................... 361
                 1. Proportionality Analysis....................................................... 361
                 2. Is Five Years Constitutionally Disproportional?................................ 364
                 a. The Nature of Polizzi's Crimes and the Contemplated Penalty................ 364
                 i. Severity of Offenses ................................................ 364
                 ii. Harm Caused by the Offenses.......................................... 365
                 iii. Severity of Punishment............................................... 366
                 iv. Polizzi's Culpability................................................ 368
                 b. Punishment for Other Offenses in This Jurisdiction ........................ 369
                 c. Punishment for Similar Offenses in Other Jurisdictions..................... 370
                 D. Irrationality...................................................................... 372
                 1. Generally...................................................................... 372
                 2. Federal Laws Criminalizing Receiving or Possessing Child Pornography
                 Are Not so Irrational so as to Violate the Constitution....................... 374
                 E. Lenity............................................................................. 377
                 F. Free Speech........................................................................ 378
                 1. History of Pornography.....\................................................... 378
                 2. First Amendment Exceptions..................................................... 380
                 a. Obscenity.................................................................. 380
                 b. Sexually Oriented Expression............................................... 383
                 c. Child Pornography.......................................................... 384
                 G. Search and Seizure................................................................. 386
                 1. Summary of Relevant Facts...................................................... 386
                 2. Fourth Amendment .............................................................. 387
                 3. Reasonable Expectation of Privacy.............................................. 388
                 4. Third-Party and Envelope-Content Doctrine...................................... 390
                 5. Electronic Communication Privacy Act........................................... 392
                 6. Probable Cause for Search of Home.............................................. 394
                 7. Policy Considerations.......................................................... 396
                 H. Separation of Powers............................................................... 397
                 1. Mandatory Minimums Historically and Today...................................... 398
                 2. The Judiciary's Power Under Article III ....................................... 399
                 3. Congress Has the Power to Enact Mandatory Minimums............................. 400
                 4. Analysis of the Statute......................'................................. 401
                 I. Jury Finding of Predicate Facts.................................................... 402
                 IV. Unconstitutional Refusal to Inform Jury of Mandatory Minimum Incarceration ............ 404
                 A. History and Context of Sixth Amendment............................................. 405
                 1. Goebel......................................................................... 408
                 2. Ryder Papers................................................................... 413
                 3. Old Bailey Session Papers...................................................... 417
                 B. Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Judicial Attempts to Restrict Sixth
                 Amendment Jury Discretion......................................................... 420
                 C. Some Modern Attempts to Eliminate Jury Power Violate the Constitution.............. 424
                 D. Recent Supreme Court Caselaw Rejects Attempts to Limit Jury's Power................ 426
                 1. Supreme Court Places a High Value on the Jury's Historic Sentencing Role....... 427
                

Page 319

 2. Supreme Court Invalidation of Laws and Practice Incompatible with
                 Historic Jury Role............................................................ 428
                 3. Sentencing Cases Suggest that the Supreme Court Recognizes the Jury's
                 Power to Moderate the Law's Harsh Effects..................................... 431
                 E. Requirement of Jury Knowledge in View of the Unusual Situation, Statute and
                 Punishment of Which the Jury Was Not Aware....................................... 433
                 1. Thomas and Pabon-Cruz Are Premised upon a Now Inappropriate
                 Attempt to Curtail Jury Powers.............................................. 433
                 a. Thomas................................................................... 433
                 b. Pabon-Cruz............................................................... 435
                 i. Procedural History................................................. 435
                 ii. Post-Soofcer, Pabon-Cruz, Thomas and Shannon Require
                 Reinterpretation ................................................. 437
                 2. Gilliam Language Represents the Current General Role of the Informed
                 Jury as Representative of Community Mores .................................. 438
                 3. In Polizzi's Case, Informing the Jury of the Applicable Penalty Was
                 Necessary Because of the Defendant's Unusual Background and the
                 Unknown Punishment.......................................................... 440
                 F. Variability of Results Depending Upon the Informed & Non-Informed Juror........ 440
                 G. Conclusion......................................................................... 443
                 V. Defendant's Motion to Inform the Jury of Mandatory Minimum Should Have Been
                 Granted.........................................................:..................... 443
                 A. Defendant's Rule 33 Motion Should Be Granted....................................... 446
                 B. Error Was Prejudicial.............................................................. 448
                 C.
...

To continue reading

Request your trial
38 practice notes
  • U.S. v. C.R., No. 09–CR–155.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • May 16, 2011
    ...criminal sanctions against child pornography, subject to constitutional limitations. See [792 F.Supp.2d 365] United States v. Polizzi, 549 F.Supp.2d 308, 378–86 (E.D.N.Y.2008) (historical discussion). By contrast with concern about sexual abuse is the acknowledged necessity of excluding fro......
  • United States v. Young, No. CR 17-0694 JB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • May 3, 2019
    ...473 F.2d 1113, 1138, 1144 (D.C.Cir. 1972) (Bazelon, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part); United States v. Polizzi, 549 F. Supp. 2d 308, 402-50 (E.D.N.Y. 2008) (Weinstein, S.J.)). Keeping such information from jurors, according to Young, "so denigrates their role that they become ......
  • United States v. Edwards, No. CR 16–3068 JB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • August 22, 2017
    ...this fundamental power of the jury—and the right of the accused—has been termed the power to ‘nullify.’ " United States v. Polizzi, 549 F.Supp.2d 308, 405 (E.D.N.Y. 2008).The Supreme Court has recognized that the jury trial right that the Sixth Amendment affords to defendants was understood......
  • United States v. Courtney, No. CR 11–2860 JB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • May 21, 2013
    ...United States v. Dougherty, 473 F.2d at 1138–1144 (Bazelon, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part); United States v. Polizzi, 549 F.Supp.2d 308, 402–450 (E.D.N.Y.2008), vacated and remanded sub nom., United States v. Polouizzi, 564 F.3d 142 (2d Cir.2009); United States v. Datcher, 8......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
38 cases
  • U.S. v. C.R., No. 09–CR–155.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • May 16, 2011
    ...criminal sanctions against child pornography, subject to constitutional limitations. See [792 F.Supp.2d 365] United States v. Polizzi, 549 F.Supp.2d 308, 378–86 (E.D.N.Y.2008) (historical discussion). By contrast with concern about sexual abuse is the acknowledged necessity of excluding fro......
  • United States v. Young, No. CR 17-0694 JB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • May 3, 2019
    ...473 F.2d 1113, 1138, 1144 (D.C.Cir. 1972) (Bazelon, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part); United States v. Polizzi, 549 F. Supp. 2d 308, 402-50 (E.D.N.Y. 2008) (Weinstein, S.J.)). Keeping such information from jurors, according to Young, "so denigrates their role that they become ......
  • United States v. Edwards, No. CR 16–3068 JB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • August 22, 2017
    ...this fundamental power of the jury—and the right of the accused—has been termed the power to ‘nullify.’ " United States v. Polizzi, 549 F.Supp.2d 308, 405 (E.D.N.Y. 2008).The Supreme Court has recognized that the jury trial right that the Sixth Amendment affords to defendants was understood......
  • United States v. Courtney, No. CR 11–2860 JB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • May 21, 2013
    ...United States v. Dougherty, 473 F.2d at 1138–1144 (Bazelon, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part); United States v. Polizzi, 549 F.Supp.2d 308, 402–450 (E.D.N.Y.2008), vacated and remanded sub nom., United States v. Polouizzi, 564 F.3d 142 (2d Cir.2009); United States v. Datcher, 8......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT