United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
RICHARD J. ARCARA, District Judge.
The defendant, Nicholas M. Skvarla, was charged in a four-count Superseding Indictment with receipt, distribution and possession of child pornography in violation of Title 18, United States Code, §§ 2252A(a)(2)(A) and 2252A(a)(5)(B) (2006), as well as a forfeiture allegation. After a bench trial on February 15 and August 14, 2012, the Court took the case under advisement. The Court has orally rendered verdicts in open court find defendant Skvarla guilty of each count, and findings and conclusions of the Court are set forth below.
On February 15, 2012, the Court accepted defendant Skvarla's waiver of his right to trial by a jury and began a bench trial. The Court received a Stipulation between the parties agreeing to certain facts, and to the legal sufficiency of the facts to prove all but interstate or foreign commerce elements of the four crimes with which defendant was charged in the Superseding Indictment.
After the United States rested, defendant Skvarla moved for a judgment of acquittal pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(a). Defendant argued that the government did not introduce legally sufficient evidence to prove the interstate or foreign commerce elements of each of the crimes by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant argued that the pre-October 2008 version of § 2252A he was charged with violating required proof that, when he downloaded visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually-explicit conduct to his computer, he did so from a specific out-of-state location, and that the government had introduced no such evidence against him.
Defendant Skvarla's Rule 29 motion was briefed and was argued August 1, 2012. The Court denied the motion in a Decision and Order docketed August 10, 2012.
Monroe County Sheriffs executed a search warrant for defendant Skvarla's residence located in Rochester, New York, on September 11, 2008, and seized computer equipment containing child pornography. Among the items seized during execution of the search warrant at defendant Skvarla's residence on September 8, 2008 were a computer hard drive and related components containing image and video files. The hard drive was a Western Digital 120-gigabyte hard drive, serial number WMAL94609838, manufactured in Malaysia. The defendant admitted during a videotaped interview at the Monroe County Sheriffs Office to using peer-to-peer file-sharing software to find images of child pornography that he downloaded to his computer.
Defendant Skvarla admitted during his non-jury trial on February 15, 2012 that he received an identical copy of a video from what is known as the "blue shirt girl" series of child pornography, so-called to protect the true identity of a minor-aged person depicted in the video, that was originally produced in France, and that he received the video from an unknown source using an internet connection and a peer-to-peer file-sharing program on his computer. The defendant admitted he knew the video was child pornography when he received it.
Defendant Skvarla also admitted that he received an identical copy of an image from the so-called "Paraguay" series of images originally produced in Paraguay, and that he received the image from an unknown source using an internet connection and a peer-to-peer file-sharing program on his computer. The defendant admitted that he knew the image was child pornography and that he received it knowing it was child pornography.
Defendant Skvarla further admitted that he received an identical copy of an image from the "Sabban" series of images originally produced in Brazil and that he received it from an unknown source using an internet connection and a peer-to-peer file-sharing program on his computer. The defendant admitted he knew the image was child pornography and that he received the image knowing it was child pornography.
The Malaysian-manufactured computer hard drive seized from defendant Skvarla's residence on September 8, 2008 contained more than three pornographic images and videos of a minor female from what is known as the "Jenny" series of images of child pornography. Defendant Skvarla admitted the "Jenny" series materials he possessed were all produced in Michigan and that he knew they were child pornography when he possessed them.
On the charge that the defendant, Nicholas M. Skvarla, received child pornography in violation of Title 18, United States Code, § 2252A(a)(2)(A), as specifically alleged in Count 1 of the Superseding Indictment, the Court found the defendant guilty. The elements of this offense stipulated ...