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Home / Opinions / Courts / 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals / Criminal Law : Sex Trafficking – Coercion – Victims

Criminal Law : Sex Trafficking – Coercion – Victims

Where the government was allowed at the trial of a defendant charged with sex trafficking, coercion and other prostitution-related crimes to ask victims questions about their troubled childhoods, psychiatric history, rape, childhood abuse and substance abuse, the evidence was relevant to the question of victim vulnerability and coercion, the trial court is accorded great deference in making Rule 403 determinations, the evidence was probative, and the evidence did not blame the defendant for the victims’ troubled pasts but instead was used to show how they could be more susceptible to coercive methods.

Judgment is affirmed.

United States v. Bell(MLW No. 66745/Case No. 13-2641 – 25 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Smith, J.) Appealed from the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa, Gritzner, J.) ( B. John Burns, Des Moines, Iowa, for appellant) (Stephen Patrick O’Meara, Council Bluffs, Iowa, for appellee).

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