February 28, 2014 4th Circuit published opinion

United States v Washington

Washington was charged with transporting a minor across state lines for purposes of prostituting the minor. He requested a jury instruction that the government had to prove his knowledge of the minor’s age. The district court refused to give the instruction and Washington was convicted. He was sentenced to an upward variance sentence. The panel affirmed. It noted that the 4th Circuit had previously held the relevant statute, 18 USC 2423 does not require proof that the offender knew the person transported was a minor. It rejected Washington’s argument that the Supreme Court case United States v Flores-Figueroa changed the analysis as 2423 has a special context namely protective minor victims of sex trafficking and thus does not require proof of knowledge of the minor’s age. The panel affirmed the sentence based on Washington’s extensive criminal history and exploitation of the minor victim.

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