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United States of America v. Jeffrey Deanchambers

June 16, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JEFFREY DEANCHAMBERS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 3:08-cr-30057-JES-BGC-1-Jeanne E. Scott, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bauer, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED JANUARY 14, 2011

Before BAUER, WOOD and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

A jury convicted defendant-appellant Jeffrey Dean Chambers of attempting to entice a minor under the age of eighteen to engage in sexual activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) and of knowingly transporting child pornography in interstate commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(1). The district court sentenced Chambers to 240 months' imprisonment. Chambers challenges the sufficiency of the evidence used to prove the attempted enticement charge and the admission of certain evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). For the following reasons, we affirm Chambers' convictions.

I. BACKGROUND

In March 2006, Chambers entered an American Online ("AOL") chat room entitled "I Love Much Older Men," and using the screen name "jefdean60," initiated contact with the screen name "Riverprincess." The online profile for "Riverprincess" revealed that the user was a 14-year-old girl named Kendal; in actuality the girl was an under-cover police detective named Carrie Smithberger. Over a span of fourteen months, Chambers contacted Kendal hundreds of times, engaging in sexually explicit online chats, e-mails, text messages, and telephone conversations.

While partaking in the online relationship with Kendal, Chambers continued to initiate contact with other young users of the "I Love Much Older Men" chat room. On May 21, 2006, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Jonathon Cook, under the guise of a 13-year-old girl named Jen with the screen name "Jensluv2cheer," entered into the same AOL chat room, and Chambers initiated a conversation. During this single conversation, Chambers inquired about Jen's appearance and sexual development, spoke in sexually suggestive language, sent Jen a sexually explicit image of what he claimed was himself, and told Jen he was masturbating and asked her to do the same "to make the experience better for him."

Approximately one year later in March 2007, Chambers, again using the screen name jefdean60, initiated contact with "Kaitlynm13" in the AOL chat room "I Love Much Older Men." The user of this screen name was actually Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Wade Luders, posing as a 13-year-old female named Kaitlyn. During the chat with Kaitlyn, Chambers used sexually explicit language and e-mailed Kaitlyn pornographic pictures of both adults and children as well as videos of minors being sexually abused and engaging in sexual acts. Chambers then asked Kaitlyn if she would perform sexual acts and send him pictures.

On June 13, 2007, federal agents obtained a search warrant to search Chambers' residence and seized Chambers' computer and other evidence linking Chambers to Kendal. During the execution of the search warrant, Chambers consented to an interview by an agent at his home. Chambers admitted that he frequented AOL chat rooms and was interested in chatting with young females. He admitted that he had engaged in sexual conversations with "Riverprincess" and other minors, and that he sent her and other minors pornographic images. He said that he discussed meeting the minors to have sex but never actually intended to do so.

Chambers was charged with two counts of knowingly transporting child pornography in interstate commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(1) for sending child pornography to Detective Smithberger, under the alias Kendal, and to Special Agent Luders, under the alias Kaitlyn.

When plea negotiations failed to resolve the issues, the government filed a superceding indictment adding a count charging enticement of a minor in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) for Chambers' contact with Detective Smithberger, under the alias Kendal.

Chambers was tried by a jury. The district court, over Chambers' objections, admitted several pieces of evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b), each of which was offered primarily to prove "grooming," motive, and intent. First, the court allowed into evidence Chambers' Internet chat and e-mails with Special Agent Luders, under the alias Kaitlyn. Specifically, the government introduced evidence that Chambers sent pornography to Kaitlyn and that he chatted with Kaitlyn about graphic sexual topics and a previous sexual encounter with his ex-girlfriend's 14-year-old daughter. Second, the court admitted into evidence Chambers' Internet chat with Special Agent Cook, under the alias Jen. The government offered a one-and-a-half-hour-long chat log between Chambers and Jen which was filled with sexually graphic language. In that conversation, Chambers described how he had sexual intercourse with the 14-year-old daughter of an ex-girlfriend and inquired into having sexual intercourse with Jen. Finally, the court admitted twenty-two child pornography images found on Chambers' computer, most of which were not related to the charges. The images were entered by the government to establish Chambers' ability to transfer pornographic images to the undercover agents, as well as to demonstrate Chambers' sexual feelings toward children.

A jury found Chambers guilty on all three counts. Chambers now ...


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