United States v. Sprenger, No. 19-2779 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Sprenger pled guilty to the production and possession of child pornography with a plea agreement. He sought to withdraw his guilty plea and invalidate the entire agreement on the ground that the legal theory upon which his production conviction (18 U.S.C. 2251(a)) rests is invalid. Spring argued that he produced images in which he was engaged in sexually explicit conduct but the sleeping victim was not engaged in sexually explicit conduct. When Sprenger initially entered into the plea agreement, his admitted conduct was sufficient to provide the factual basis for his production conviction.
The government agreed with Sprenger’s position and the Seventh Circuit vacated his production conviction. The plea agreement still provides an adequate factual basis for the possession conviction, which supports that Sprenger’s plea to the possession offense remains knowing and voluntary notwithstanding the invalidity of the production conviction.