By Burt Rose
The UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT has decided the case of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, v. DAVID GEORGE HUSMANN, Appellant, No. 13-2688, an appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (No. 12-cr-00141-001) before District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel. The Panel was composed of Judges FUENTES, GREENBERG and VAN ANTWERPEN. Judge Fuentes wrote the Opinion; Judge Van Antwerpen dissented. Robert A. Zauzmer, Esq. argued for the USA while Theodore C. Forrence, Jr., Esq represented the Appellant.
Husmann had placed various images of child pornography in a shared computer folder connected to a file sharing network. Based on that conduct, a jury convicted him of three counts of distributing child pornography. At trial, the government did not present evidence that any person had actually downloaded or obtained the materials that Husmann made available. The issue was whether the mere act of placing child pornography materials in a shared computer folder, available to other users of a file sharing network, constituted distribution of child pornography.
The Court concluded that a conviction for distributing child pornography cannot be sustained without evidence that another person actually downloaded or obtained the images stored in the shared folder. Therefore, the majority vacated Husmann’s conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2) and remanded for resentencing.