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United States v. Todd

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
627 F.3d 329 (2009)


Facts

The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Jerome Eugene Todd (defendant) for violating the Trafficking Victim's Protection Act (TVPA), 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a), by enticing three women to engage in prostitution, "knowing that force, fraud, or coercion . . . will be used" to compel them to do so. The trial evidence established that Todd turned his girlfriend Kelsey Kirschman into a prostitute and controlled her through psychological domination, which he backed up by beating Kirschman whenever she broke his strict rules. Almost two years later, Todd enticed Whitney T. into prostitution. Kirschman trained Whitney T. for her new role, and after moving in with Todd and Kirschman, Whitney T. saw Todd beat Kirschman for disobedience. Next, Todd engaged Whitney E. to work for him as a prostitute, under the day-to-day control of his cousin Trent, who told her he would enforce Todd's rules physically. On one occasion, Todd himself beat Whitney E. Finally, Todd turned Jemelle L. into a prostitute. Todd threatened and shoved Jemelle, and beat Kirschman in Jemelle's presence, leading her to believe she would regret it if she left Todd. The jury found Todd guilty, and he appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the government failed to prove Todd knew he would use force or coercion against his victims.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Noonan, J.)

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