United States v. West, No. 21-2701 (7th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Based on a child’s report that West molested him and paid him for a nude photograph, police searched West’s home and business and found a laptop computer and flash drives that contained roughly 1000 photographs and videos of child pornography. West was charged with possessing child pornography, sexual exploitation of a minor, receiving child pornography, and commission of an offense by a registered sex offender. West stipulated that certain images found on his devices were part of known child pornography series identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, produced outside Illinois, and distributed on the internet. The court admitted those exhibits. At trial, the government briefly showed several images from West’s devices to the jury. An FBI agent testified that six images found on West’s devices were from a child pornography series he had investigated; the government briefly published exhibits as the agent identified each child, without objection. As the prosecutor asked about Exhibit 5E, West unsuccessfully objected.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed West’s conviction, rejecting his argument that the admission and publication of the exhibits violated Federal Rule of Evidence 403 on the theory that the content of the images was not in dispute, so their admission was needlessly cumulative and unfairly prejudicial. He also argued, unsuccessfully, that because he had stipulated that child pornography was found on the devices recovered from his home and business, their admission violated Supreme Court precedent.