In United States v. Moon, No. 20-13822 (May 10, 2022) (Jill Pryor, Branch, Hull), the Court affirmed the defendant’s child pornography convictions.
First, the Court upheld the denial of a motion to suppress videotapes found during the execution of an unrelated search warrant on the defendant’s medical office. The Court concluded that the search was within the scope of the warrant because it referred to “videotapes” and “tapes.” Thus, the officer was entitled to briefly examine the tapes, as that was the only way to determine their relevance to the crime. The Court rejected the defendant’s argument that the videotapes were too obsolete to contain criminal evidence, as the office contained a VCR as well as a hidden surveillance camera.
Second, the Court upheld the district court’s closures of the courtroom to display sensitive evidence. The Court found that the parties entered into a pre-trial agreement to do so. The Court joined other circuits in holding that the structural right to a public trial is waivable. And the Court concluded that the defendant waived that right by entering the pre-trial agreement, affirmatively consenting to the closure at various points early in the trial, and subsequently failing to object to any later closures that purportedly exceeded the scope of the agreement.
Finally, the Court briefly found no abuse of discretion in the district court’s: denial of a motion for a Franks hearing; denial of a motion for recusal; and failure to give several requested instruction on the definition of “lascivious exhibition.”