Faucett v. United States, No. 15-2515 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Faucett possessed large quantities of child pornography, including 59 sexually explicit photos of his five-year-old granddaughter that he took while she was sleeping. When investigators found the collection on his computer, he initially denied knowledge of it. He later confessed. Faucett pleaded guilty to producing and possessing child pornography, 18 U.S.C. 2251(a), 2252(a)(4)(B). His presentence report detailed his alcoholism and mental-health issues, including ADHD, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. When he took the pictures of his granddaughter, he had active prescriptions for Adderall (for ADHD) and Paxil (an antidepressant). The defense strategy was acceptance of responsibility. He is serving a 30-year prison term. In a pro se motion under 28 U.S.C. 2255, he claimed that his attorney was constitutionally ineffective for failing to advise him that involuntary intoxication was an available defense and at least should have developed an argument about diminished capacity as a mitigating factor. The district judge denied the motion without a hearing, reasoning that neither defense strategy would have had any chance of success. The Seventh Circuit affirmed without addressing whether involuntary intoxication is an available defense in a case like this one. Faucett did not articulate a viable factual basis for the defense even if it would apply. Nor was his counsel constitutionally ineffective for not arguing diminished capacity as a mitigating factor at sentencing.