October 5, 2022

A five-page opinion from a Ninth Circuit Court docket of Appeals panel has affirmed the findings of a district courtroom decide refusing to dismiss a case towards the operators of now-defunct Backpage.com, an categorised promoting web site purportedly replete with “thinly-veiled prostitution advertisements.” 

The non-precedential resolution discovered that the prosecution didn’t commit egregious sufficient witness questioning abuses to warrant granting the defendants’ double-jeopardy movement to dismiss for twice-over prosecution in violation of the Fifth Modification. 

The federal government’s transient recounted the info giving rise to the movement filed by defendants Michael Lacey, James Larkin, John Brunst, Scott Spear, Andrew Padilla and Joye Vaught, asking for dismissal. In July 2018, the defendants obtained a 100-count superseding indictment charging them with violations of federal prostitution and cash laundering legal guidelines. Among the many counts was a 14-year conspiracy to violate the Journey Act by facilitating prostitution.

Trial started in September 2021, however after solely two days of a deliberate three months of testimony, the district courtroom declared a mistrial. In December 2021, the district courtroom denied the defendants’ double-jeopardy movement to dismiss, the topic of the moment enchantment.

The Ninth Circuit expedited the dispute, and on this week’s opinion, discovered that the movement decide appropriately denied the defendants’ dismissal bid. The panel declined three arguments aimed on the prosecution, discovering as a substitute that the report supported the conclusion that the federal government had no purpose to sabotage its personal trial, which was nonetheless in its infancy. 

The panel additionally discovered that although “the federal government did elicit prejudicial proof in violation of pretrial rulings, the report additionally exhibits that the federal government typically had good-faith causes to imagine its questions have been throughout the contours of the trial decide’s rulings.” Weighing the severity of the federal government’s breaches of pretrial orders per impermissible witness questioning, the courtroom mentioned the federal government “had a cogent purpose for doing so.”

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The case will now proceed to trial in Phoenix, Ariz.