United States v. Stokes, No. 11-2734 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Stokes was a public school teacher for more than 10 years. In 2000, he pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor battery for indecently touching two boys who were his students. Stokes was sentenced to probation, with a prohibition on unsupervised contact with minors. Less than a month after sentencing, Stokes obtained permission to complete his probation in Thailand. Within weeks of his arrival in Thailand, he began seeking boys for sex. This continued for several years until someone tipped off the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service, which, with the Royal Thai Police, searched Stokes’s home and recovered a camera, a computer, and compact discs containing thousands of images of Stokes’s sexual activity with Thai boys. Stokes was extradited and convicted of traveling in foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in a sex act with a minor, 18 U.S.C. 2423(b). The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting claims related to a procedural mistake in the extradition process and to the legality of the search. The Thai foreign ministry waived the “Rule of Specialty,” allowing the government to proceed on a substitute charge. The Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement and the Warrant Clause have no extraterritorial application, but Stokes was protected by the Amendment’s touchstone requirement of reasonableness. The search was reasonable.