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United States v. Rounds

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

April 9, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TREVIN ROUNDS, Defendant-Appellant

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Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Joseph H. Gay Jr., U.S. Attorney's Office, San Antonio, TX; Austin Maxwell Berry, U.S. Attorney's Office, Midland, TX.

For Trevin Rounds, Defendant - Appellant: Sharon Denotra Henderson, Henderson Law Office, Jackson, MS.

Before SMITH, DeMOSS, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

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JERRY E. SMITH, Circuit Judge

Trevin Rounds was found guilty by a jury of being in possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4) (Count One) and using a facility of interstate commerce to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a juvenile to engage in sexual activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) (Count Two). He raises several issues on appeal, and we affirm.

I.

Before trial, Rounds moved to suppress " any and all photographic and/or video evidence that was gathered by the seizure and subsequent search of his phone." The district court held an evidentiary hearing at which Rounds and sheriff's deputies Jeffery Whitson and Georgina Maritz testified. The court made the following findings: (1) Because Whitson " could not have viewed the contents of the phone without assistance from Defendant," Rounds consented to the search; and (2) " [b]ased on the totality of the circumstances . . . [,] consent was freely and voluntarily given." Accordingly, the court denied the motion to suppress.

Shortly before trial, the government indicated that it planned to call Sheretta Trahan, Jane Doe's godmother; because she had not been previously listed as a witness, defense counsel objected. The court (1) continued the trial for one hour to allow counsel an opportunity to meet with Rounds and Trahan and (2) delayed her testimony for one day. An hour later, counsel informed the court that he had been able to meet the witness and to confer with his client, and the witness had answered his questions. Although the court had delayed the witness from testifying for another day, because counsel told the court " I'm ready to go forward," Trahan testified the same day.

Similarly, the night before trial, the government disclosed its intent to introduce Tagged.com messages between Jane Doe and Rounds. Defense counsel again objected to that late disclosure. In response, the court granted a one-day continuance and again delayed, for one day, the government's introduction of that evidence. Again, defense counsel indicated that he was ready to go forward.

II.

The following evidence was presented at trial: In February 2012, Rounds contacted a fourteen-year-old female (" Jane Doe" ), living in Houston, on the social networking website Tagged.com. She and Rounds began texting. She initially lied to Rounds about her age[1] but testified about several incidents that made him aware of her real age. First, she acknowledged that the father of one of her former classmates saw her with Rounds and told Rounds that she was fourteen. Second, she ran away from her godmother's house on February 23, 2012. Before running away, Trahan asked Jane to place a call to Rounds during which Trahan told Rounds that Jane was fourteen and to stay away from her. Trahan's testimony corroborates the phone call.

In early March, after she ran away from home, Jane stayed approximately twelve nights with Rounds in a Houston hotel room and had sex there. Around March 12, Jane and Rounds got into an argument about her talking to other men online, including Brian Phea, who bought her a bus ticket from Houston to Amarillo. Rounds drove Jane to the bus station, and shortly after she arrived in Amarillo, she

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and Phea went to Odessa, where Phea was abusive, tasered her, and hit her, resulting in a ruptured eardrum. At some point in Odessa, Jane wanted to get away from Phea and return to Houston; Rounds agreed to drive to Odessa and pick her up from a motel where she was staying. During that time, Jane and Rounds continued to communicate via ...


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