United States v. Harris, No. 19-7145 (4th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Defendant was convicted by a jury of coercing a minor into illegal sexual activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2422(b) and of multiple counts related to the sexual abuse of several other child victims. Defendant filed a 28 U.S.C. 2255 petition challenging his conviction of coercing a minor, but the district court denied the petition.
The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of the section 2255 petition, concluding that the court need not decide whether section 2422(b)'s text meets the standard for impermissible extraterritorial application, because defendant's conviction involved a permissible domestic application of section 2422(b). In this case, defendant's Virginia victim received his messages and was coerced into sexual activity in the United States, and defendant himself was in the United States when he sent some of those messages.