United States v. Copp, No. 20-1102 (8th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for various child pornography charges. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying defendant's request to photograph and show photos of his penis where the proffered evidence had little probative value and the evidence prejudiced the government based on undue delay. Alternatively, the district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding the photos as a discovery sanction for late disclosure. Even if the district court abused its discretion or otherwise erred, any error was harmless.
The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying defendant's request to allow his former cellmate to testify about his penis based on lack of probative value and as a discovery sanction for late disclosure. Furthermore, any error was harmless.
Court Description: [Benton, Author, with Gruender and Shepherd, Circuit Judges] Criminal case - Criminal law. In a prosecution for production of child pornography, the district court did not err in denying defendant's request, on the fifth day of trial, to photograph and introduce pictures of his penis so that he could show the penis in the pornographic images was not his; photos taken years after the production of the pornography had little probative value in showing defendant's penis's appearance at the time the images were taken; further, the probative value of the evidence was substantially outweighed by prejudice to the government from undue delay; alternatively, the court did not abuse its discretion by excluding the photos as a discovery sanction for late disclosure; here, where defendant had opposed the government's efforts to photograph his penis before trial, the discovery violation was willful and motivated by a desire to obtain a tactical advantage, and the Compulsory Process Clause of the Sixth Amendment did not require admission of the evidence; nor did defendant's constitutional right to present a complete defense require admission of the photos as defendant had an adequate opportunities to lay the foundation for his defense; even if the court's decision was error, it was harmless as the evidence supporting defendant's convictions was overwhelming; similarly, the court did not abuse its discretion by denying defendant's request to allow his former cellmate to testify about defendant's penis.