United States v. Husmann, No. 13-2688 (3d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
While Husmann was on supervised release for a child pornography conviction, the Probation Office received an alert indicating that his computer had accessed pornographic websites. An agent visited his residence, seized flash drives, and referred the case to the FBI. With a warrant, FBI agents searched Husmann’s home and seized computers. Husmann admitted to downloading, saving, and viewing images stored on the seized flash drives. The FBI found 4,000 images of child erotica and peer-to-peer file sharing programs on Husmann’s computer, Limewire and 360 Share Pro, which enable users to search, browse, and download electronic files directly with other users, rather than through central servers. Users make their files accessible by placing them in a designated folder that is available to the network. Placing files into a shared folder does not automatically transmit them to another computer unless another program user downloads them. Review of Husmann’s log file revealed that child pornography files were placed in a shared folder on 360 Share Pro, allowing others access, but it was not clear when these files were loaded to the shared folder nor whether the files were ever downloaded to another machine. Husmann was convicted of knowingly possessing and distributing child pornography, 18 U.S.C. 2252(a). The Third Circuit vacated the distribution conviction. A conviction for distributing child pornography requires evidence that another person actually downloaded or obtained the images stored in the shared folder.