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United States v. Hoskins

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

November 29, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff- Appellee,
v.
Jessyca Hoskins, Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted: April 7, 2017

         Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas - Fayetteville

          Before COLLOTON and BENTON, Circuit Judges, and GERRARD, [1] District Judge.

          GERRARD, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Jessyca Hoskins was convicted of distributing a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and ordered to pay restitution of $7, 500. She argues that the evidence was insufficient to establish either that the victim's losses were proximately caused by the offense, or the amount of the loss. We affirm.

         I.

         The victim in this case was 14 years old when Hoskins videorecorded her sexual assault. The victim was supposed to be spending a night with a friend, but instead the two girls went to Hoskins' apartment. They stayed there for most of the weekend drinking, smoking marijuana, and going out to nightclubs.

         It was there that the victim was introduced to Jason Henry, also known as "All Star, " who had been invited over to meet the victim with the idea that he could become the victim's pimp. Henry pimped her to LaQuentin Jones, and Hoskins videorecorded Jones and the victim having sex while others watched. While it was happening, the victim said "no, no" or "stop, stop, " and held her hands up in the direction of the camera. Hoskins sent the video to several people.

         Upon learning some of what had happened, the victim's mother took her to a hospital, and the hospital called Fayetteville police. Police interviewed one of the people to whom the video had been sent. At least one copy of the video was taken from the phone of a schoolmate of the victim.

         Henry was convicted in state court of prostitution and sexual assault. Jones was also convicted of sexual assault in state court. And Hoskins was charged in federal court with, among other things, knowing distribution of a visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1). Hoskins pled guilty to that charge.

         The victim's mother testified at sentencing about the effect of the offense on the victim, and in particular the effect of the videorecording and its distribution. She said that the victim now dislikes being videorecorded, and has nightmares about it. She asked the court to "imagine being 14 and going to school and the kids at your school have seen a video of you being surrounded by other people and being. . . while someone cheers it on?" (Ellipsis in original.) "[I]t would be naive of us to believe, " she said, "even if it is supposition, that this video went one place and stopped."

         Hoskins was sentenced to 72 months' imprisonment and a $2, 400 fine, and the district court set another hearing on the matter of restitution. A victim impact statement completed by the victim's mother described $38, 700 in crime-related costs, for a variety of expenses including private therapy and out-of-state travel related to mental health treatment. Invoices and a ledger were provided to substantiate some of those amounts. And the victim impact statement specifically sought $10, 000 for future medical expenses.

         The district court[2] ordered Hoskins to pay $7, 500 in restitution. The court analogized the situation to that presented in Paroline v. United States, in which the Supreme Court addressed how to assess the proximate cause of a victim's losses from the possession of child pornography. 134 S.Ct. 1710 (2014). The court reasoned that Paroline was "highly instructive" because this case, like Paroline, involves an injury caused by Hoskins' distribution of images of the victim's rape.

         The district court began by estimating the victim's full damages, as a "rough guidepost" for determining an amount appropriate to Hoskins' offense. The court found that the victim had incurred a total of $11, 895 in documented losses, based on the invoices and ledger provided by the victim's mother. The court further credited $3, 000 in incurred but undocumented damages, explaining that it was intended to be a "reasonable but low estimate, " given ...


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