United States v. Heatherly

The defendants frequented an internet chat room where users regularly shared child pornography. One user repeatedly live-streamed himself raping and sexually abusing his six-year-old nephew. The defendants encouraged him as he did so. And they repeatedly asked users for other child pornography videos. A  jury convicted the men of receiving child pornography and conspiring to do the same. The defendants appealed their convictions, raising numerous evidentiary issues. In United States v. Heatherly, the 3rd Circuit held that, under Federal Rules of Evidence 402 and 403, the District Court properly admitted videos shown in the chatroom of children suffering violent sexual abuse. After reviewing that evidence for itself, the District Court properly found that the risk of unfair prejudice did not substantially outweigh its probative value. The evidence was highly probative of the conspiracy and the defendants’ awareness of what they were involved in.

HEATHERLY