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United States v. Kaufmann

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

October 9, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Darin Kaufmann, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued September 6, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division. No. 15-cr-59. Theresa L. Springmann, Chief Judge.

          Before Easterbrook, Kanne, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.

          KANNE, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         For certain federal crimes involving sexual exploitation of minors, a federal statute- 18 U.S.C. § 2252(b)-increases the mandatory minimum sentence when the defendant has a prior conviction "under the laws of any State relating to, ” among other things, "possession ... of child pornography." Darin Kaufmann pled guilty to two federal crimes involving sexual exploitation of a minor. The district court imposed an enhanced mandatory minimum sentence under § 2252(b) because Kaufmann has prior convictions for possession of child pornography under an Indiana statute. Kaufmann challenged his sentence, arguing that his prior state convictions do not support a § 2252(b) enhancement because the Indiana statute of his convictions criminalized conduct broader than the federal version of possession of child pornography.

         In United States v. Kraemer, we held that a § 2252(b) enhancement does not require the state statute of conviction to be the same as or narrower than the analogous federal law. 933 F.3d 675 (7th Cir. 2019). Rather, the words "relating to" in § 2252(b) expand the range of enhancement-triggering convictions. Id. at 679-83. Under Kraemer, Kaufmann's Indiana convictions are ones "relating to ... possession ... of child pornography" and thus support the mandatory minimum enhancement. Adhering to our decision in Kraemer, we affirm Kaufmann's sentence.

         I. Background

         Kaufmann arranged to care for an elderly man in exchange for room and board. The living arrangement ended when police arrested Kaufmann for stealing money from the man. As the man's family packed Kaufmann's belongings, they discovered child pornography. A grand jury indicted Kaufmann on charges of receiving and possessing materials involving sexual exploitation of a minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2) and (a)(4), and Kaufmann pled guilty to both offenses without a plea agreement.

         The mandatory minimum sentence for this pair of convictions is enhanced to fifteen years if the defendant has a prior conviction "under the laws of any State relating to aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor or ward, or the production, possession, receipt, mailing, sale, distribution, shipment, or transportation of child pornography." 18 U.S.C. § 2252(b)(1) (emphases added).[1]

         The district court concluded that this enhancement applies because Kaufmann has prior convictions for possession of child pornography in violation of Indiana Code § 35-42-4-4 (2007). The court accordingly sentenced Kaufmann to an aggregate fifteen-year term of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. Kaufmann appealed that sentence, contesting the district court's determination that his Indiana convictions trigger the enhancements under § 2252(b).

         II. Analysis

         We review de novo a district court's determination that a state conviction supports a sentencing enhancement under § 2252(b). Kraemer, 933 F.3d at 679.

         Kaufmann argues that this determination calls for the "categorical" approach of Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575 (1990). Under that approach, we compare the elements of the state offense to the elements of the comparable federal offense. Kraemer, 933 F.3d at 679. Only if the state offense is the same as or narrower than the federal offense does the state conviction trigger an enhancement. Id. Kaufmann contends that the "relating to" language in § 2252(b) does not broaden the scope of state offenses that qualify as predicates for an enhancement.

         Applying this categorical approach to Kaufmann's Indiana convictions, Kaufmann argues that the underlying Indiana statute criminalizing possession of child pornography is broader than federal possession of child ...


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