United States v. Eric D. Zahursky
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
580 F.3d 515 (2009)
Erik Zahursky (defendant) contacted a government-created 14-year-old girl, “Sad-Shelly2000” (Shelly), in an Internet chat room; told her he had “done” a 14-year-old; and offered to meet Shelly to have sex. In subsequent communications, Zahursky suggested a threesome with Shelly’s friend Lindsay or “Holly1989cutie,” another 14-year-old he met online. Zahursky and Shelly arranged to meet at an Indiana Starbucks and go to Lindsay’s sister’s dorm. Zahursky agreed to bring condoms and lubricant. Zahursky drove from Illinois to the Starbucks and was arrested. Agents searched Zahursky’s vehicle and found condoms and lubricant in bags in the glove compartment and trunk, directions from Zahursky’s residence to the Starbucks, and an email between Zahursky and Shelly. Zahursky was charged with using a means of interstate commerce to attempt to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b). Zahursky’s motion to suppress the evidence found in his vehicle was denied. At trial, Zahursky testified that he chatted with minors to convince them to leave adult chat rooms and went to Starbucks to confirm his suspicion that Shelly was a cop and not to have sex with her. The court admitted SS’s testimony that SS had sex with Zahursky twice when she was 14 or 15 and chats Zahursky had with “Xanthery” and “Holly1989cutie” about having had sex with 14-year-olds. The court instructed the jury on the limited purpose for which they could consider the evidence. Zahursky was convicted and argued on appeal that the evidence found in his car should have been suppressed and his prior chats and SS’s testimony excluded.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Tinder, J.)
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