USA v. Mack Doak, et al., No. 19-15106 (11th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Defendant was convicted by a jury of transporting his three adopted daughters across state lines so that he could sexually abuse them. Defendant’s wife knew what he was doing and was convicted of aiding and abetting. Defendants made an across-the-board effort to challenge their convictions, claiming that their indictment was flawed and that several evidentiary errors infected the trial.
Other than the restitution order, which the Eleventh Circuit partially vacated, the court affirmed Defendants’ convictions and sentences. The court explained that it is best practice to include the statutes criminalizing the sexual activity that Defendants planned to inflict on the transported child. That best practice was not followed here. Even so, the indictment was detailed enough to notify Defendants of the charges against them.
Further, the court explained that a reasonable jury could easily conclude that Defendant kept the girls close by so that he could abuse them on demand. And it follows that Defendant brought the girls with him on the various trips to have them accessible when he wanted to grope or rape them. The jury had sufficient evidence to convict Defendant of traveling and bringing the girls with him to sexually abuse them. Further, a reasonable jury could easily conclude that Defendant’s wife helped him keep his abuse a secret. She began abusing the girls herself—not sexually, it’s true, but physically and verbally. In regards to Defendant's argument that the district court mishandled several evidentiary issues, the court held that none of those evidentiary decisions, in isolation or together, amount to reversible error.