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United States v. Edwards

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

December 6, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Nicholas Edwards, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued September 11, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. No. 3:18-cr-00023-jdp-1 - James D. Peterson, Chief Judge.

          Before Ripple, Rovner, and Barrett, Circuit Judges.

          ROVNER, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Nicholas Edwards pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender, in violation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2250-his fourth conviction for a failure to register a change of address as required by state and federal statutes. The district court ordered him to serve a prison term of 27 months and imposed three conditions that will govern his supervised release at the conclusion of that term: (1) a requirement that, as required by his probation officer, he inform employers, neighbors and family members with children, and others of his criminal record, his obligation to register as a sex offender, and the other requirements imposed by SORNA; (2) a ban on meeting, spending time with, or communicating with any minor absent the express permission of the minor's parent or guardian and the probation officer; and (3) a bar to working in any job or participating any volunteer activity in which he would have access to minors, absent prior approval of his probation officer. Finding no flaw in any of these conditions, we affirm the judgment.

         I.

         Edwards distributed child pornography in 2001 and possessed child pornography in 2002. As a result of his convictions in Minnesota state court in 2003 for those offenses, Edwards incurred a lifetime obligation to register as a sex offender under the Minnesota statute implementing SORNA's requirements for a sex offender registry. See 34 U.S.C. § 20912; Minn. Stat. § 243.l66(6)(d)(1). He failed to comply with that obligation on multiple occasions when he changed addresses, and he was convicted in state court of failing to register and/or update his registration in 2004, 2009, and 2013.[1]

          In 2018, Edwards was indicted in federal court for failing to register under section 2250, after he began working in Wisconsin in or about February 2017 and ultimately moved to Hudson, Wisconsin, in November of that year but failed to register in Wisconsin or update his existing registration in Minnesota. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced on the same day[2]

         At sentencing, the district court imposed three conditions upon Edwards' eventual supervised release over his objection:

Condition 11: As directed by the probation officer, defendant shall notify employers and third parties providing volunteer opportunities and educational opportunities; organizations to which defendant belongs; and neighbors and family members with minor children, of defendant's criminal record based on risk associated with his offense, his obligations to register as a sexual offender, and the legal requirements under the Sex Offender Notification Act. The probation officer may also take steps to confirm defendant's compliance with this notification requirement or provide such notifications directly.
Special condition 16: Not meet or spend time with any person under the age of 18 or have verbal, written, telephonic or electronic communication with any such person, except with the express permission of the minor's parent or legal guardian and the supervising U.S. probation officer. This provision does not include persons under the age of 18, such as waiters, cashiers, ticket vendors, etc., with whom defendant must deal in order to obtain ordinary and usual commercial services.
Special condition 17: Not work in any occupation, business or profession, or participate in any volunteer activity where defendant has access to children under the age of 18 without the prior approval of the supervising U.S. probation officer.

         R. 30 ...


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