Argued: January 26, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of North Carolina, at Raleigh. Louise W. Flanagan,
District Judge. (5:14-cr-00113-FL-1)
Stephen Clayton Gordon, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC
DEFENDER, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant.
Kristine L. Fritz, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY,
Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.
P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL
PUBLIC DEFENDER, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant.
Stuart Bruce, Acting United States Attorney, Jennifer P.
May-Parker, Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Raleigh, North Carolina, for
TRAXLER, DIAZ, and THACKER, Circuit Judges.
by published opinion. Judge Thacker wrote the opinion, in
which Judge Traxler and Judge Diaz joined.
THACKER, Circuit Judge.
Joe Mills ("Appellant") pled guilty to a one-count
criminal information charging him with manufacturing child
pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a), (d). He
also had two previous convictions for taking indecent
liberties with children in violation of North Carolina law.
See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-202.1. At sentencing,
the district court determined the North Carolina taking
indecent liberties with children statute constituted a state
law "relating to the sexual exploitation of
children." As a result, Appellant faced a sentence
between 35 years and life. See 18 U.S.C. §
2251(e). Appellant did not object. The district court imposed
a 45 year sentence.
appeal, Appellant argues for the first time that the district
court erred in concluding that taking indecent liberties with
children constitutes a state crime "relating to the
sexual exploitation of children" pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 2251(e). For the reasons that follow, we disagree with
Appellant and affirm the district court.
January 5, 2014, police executed a search warrant on
Appellant's home after an investigation revealed that he
had been sexually abusing children. The search uncovered 125
videos and 924 still images produced by Appellant portraying
the sexual exploitation of children. Appellant used at least
ten different children to make the images. Appellant paid
several of the children to have sex with him and other males.
Appellant also possessed over 10, 000 additional images of
child pornography and over 100, 000 images of child erotica
and adult pornography. On August 12, 2014, ...