U.S. Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of International Child Sex Charges

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Friday, June 1, 2007
Bruce Zagaris
On March 29, 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an indictment against Gary Jackson, a former U.S. citizen charged with traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct, because it violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution. U.S. authorities indicted Jackson for violating 18 U.S.C. ยง 2434(c), which punishes any U.S. citizen ?who travels in foreign commerce, and engages in any illicit sexual conduct with another person.? The district court held that application of the statute to Jackson?s conduct might well violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution, and interpreted the statute narrowly to avoid constitutional infirmity. The Appellate Court concluded that Jackson?s actions fell outside of the conduct that Congress proscribed and affirmed the district court?s dismissal of the indictment.