November 6, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Indiana, South Bend Division. No. 15-cr-62 -
Robert L. Miller, Jr., Judge.
Bauer, Kanne, and Rovner, Circuit Judges.
Ryan was convicted of possessing, receiving, and distributing
child pornography. On appeal, he contends that his motion for
substitution of counsel should have been granted and that the
government failed to prove he knowingly distributed the
files. He also argues his computer was improperly forfeited.
For the reasons that follow, the judgment of the district
court is affirmed.
police used a peer-to-peer file sharing program to download
child pornography from a computer located at Timothy
Ryan's home. The Federal Bureau of Investigation then
obtained a warrant, searched Ryan's home, and found a
desktop computer that contained two peer-to-peer file sharing
programs that had been used to download hundreds of child
pornography files. The FBI also discovered on the computer a
shortcut to a program used to block user-specific IP
addresses from seeing the user's peer-to-peer activity or
shared files, a list of what appeared to be law enforcement
IP addresses, a shortcut to a program that encrypts
peer-to-peer communications, and a folder with many images
and videos of child pornography.
with this evidence, a grand jury indicted Ryan for
possessing, receiving, and distributing child pornography.
The indictment also sought forfeiture of unspecified
rejected a plea offer made by the government and invoked his
right to trial by jury. Five days before trial was set to
begin, defense counsel filed on Ryan's behalf a motion to
substitute counsel. The following day, the district court
held a hearing on the motion. The prosecutor, defense
counsel, and Ryan were present. Ryan testified that he had
lost confidence in counsel and was frustrated with his
inability to contact him. After discussing the matter with
defense counsel and with Ryan, the court denied the motion.
trial, Ryan claimed the images must have been downloaded by
his cousin who had access to his computer. The jury returned
guilty verdicts convicting Ryan on all counts. The court
sentenced Ryan to 157 months' imprisonment, including an
enhancement for knowingly distributing child pornography. The
district court also ordered the forfeiture of Ryan's
now appeals his convictions on the basis his motion for
substitution of counsel should have been granted. He also
appeals the distribution conviction on grounds that the
government failed to adequately prove he knowingly
distributed the files. He challenges his sentence on this
basis as well. Finally, he challenges the forfeiture of his
Motion for substitution of counsel
days before trial was to begin, Ryan filed a motion for
substitution of counsel. After a hearing, the district court
denied the motion. We review the denial for abuse of
discretion. United States v. Volpentesta, 727 F.3d
666, 672-73 (7th Cir. 2013). When assessing a district
court's denial of a motion for new counsel, this court
considers "(1) the timeliness of the motion; (2) whether
the district court conducted an adequate inquiry into the
matter; and (3) whether the breakdown between lawyer and
client was so great as to result in a total lack of
communication, precluding an adequate defense."
United States v. Ryals, 512 F.3d 416, 419 (7th Cir.
2008). "[E]ven if the district court abused its
discretion, [the defendant] is not entitled to a new ...