United States v. Lewis, 554 F.3d 208 (1st Cir. 2009)(full-text).
After inappropriate images were discovered on a computer where the defendant worked as a U.S. Park Ranger, defendant was indicted for receipt of child pornography in connection with other videos he admitted downloading to his home computer. The videos had likely been downloaded using a peer-to-peer application called LimeWire.
District Court Proceedings
The jury was instructed that if a file is transported exclusively within a single state on the Internet, it is considered interstate commerce. The jury convicted the defendant of receiving child pornography.
Appellate Court Proceedings
The court held that “shipped or transported in interstate commerce,” for purposes of a statute prohibiting transportation of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors, required actual interstate movement of the images, and the evidence was insufficient to prove that images of child pornography traveled interstate. Congress had recently amended the child pornography statutes to expand jurisdictional coverage, but despite those developments this case was governed by the statute as written at the time of defendant’s conduct, and the decision rested only on the law as it stood at that time.