December 6, 2012 4th Circuit published opinions

United States v Brown

Brown was charged with child pornography charges. He moved to suppress evidence taken from his laptop as it was seized from an ambulance near his place of employment while the warrant was for a search of his place of employment. The district court denied his motion and Brown was convicted on both counts of the indictment. At sentencing, the court dismissed the lesser offense and sentenced Brown to 144 months incarceration. The panel affirmed. As to the suppression motion, it held that the officers conducting the search had the right to seize the laptop based on exigent circumstances namely to prevent the destruction of evidence. The panel also affirmed the dismissal of the lesser offense as consistent with precedent.

United States v Caporale

The government sought to civilly commit Caporale as a sexually dangerous person based on his convictions for child molestation. The experts disagreed about whether he suffered forma serious condition and whether he has serious difficulty controlling his behavior. The district court rejected the government’s petition ruling that the offered condition did not meet the medical standards for condition and there was insufficient evidence Caporale would reoffend. The panel affirmed. It first ruled that Caporale’s attraction to pubescent males was a serious condition based on the statute’s text and precedent from the 1st Circuit. However, it found no clear error in the finding that Caporale could control his desires in the future as shown by 20 years without a contact offense and 10 months without pornography being found in his cell and his risk of reoffending would go down over time.

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