United States v. Carter, No. 16-50271 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit vacated defendant's conviction for sex trafficking of a minor or by force, fraud, or coercion, and for transportation of a minor in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution. The panel held that defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him was violated when one of the victims was permitted to testify against defendant remotely by two-way video because she was seven months pregnant and unable to travel.
The panel held that, criminal defendants have a right to physical, face-to-face confrontation at trial, and that right cannot be compromised by the use of a remote video procedure unless it is necessary to do so and the reliability of the testimony is otherwise assured. In this case, alternatives were available for obtaining the testimony that would preserve defendant's right to physical confrontation. The court remanded for resentencing on the remaining five counts.