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Court denied motion to dismiss indictment for improper venue

In U.S. v. Kopp, the defendant registered as a sex offender in the Northern District of Georgia, and then moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, where he failed to update his registration. A grand jury then indicted Kopp in the Northern District of Georgia for failure to register as sex offender. Kopp moved to dismiss the indictment for improper venue. The federal court denied his motion. Kopp then conditionally pleaded guilty. Later he violated his supervised release, and federal court sentenced him to 16 months of imprisonment.

Kopp was convicted in a court of Hungary for “Rape of an Individual Not Older than Twelve”. As an American citizen he requested a transfer under the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Council of Europe. United States Parole Commission required him to serve his prison sentence followed by a term of 36 months of supervised release. Kopp was certified as a sexually dangerous person required to register as a sex offender. Kopp begun his term of supervised release in the Northern District of Georgia. Kopp probation officer directed him to complete a sex offender registration, and he updated his registration in Georgia until December 2011. In 2012 Kopp removed the electronic monitoring device that he wore as a condition of his supervised release and left the halfway house in Georgia where he resided. A month later police officers encountered him in Daytona Beach, Florida. Kopp never registered as a sex offender in Florida, nor did he inform the authorities in Georgia that he was moving to Florida.

Kopp was taken to Northern District of Georgia where he was indicted for failure to register as a sex offender. He moved to dismiss the indictment for improper venue. He argued that venue did not lie in Georgia because he failed to register in Florida. The District court denied the motion. The district court sentenced him to 18 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release.

He argued the venue was improper because he failed to register in Florida but the Court of appeals disagree. Under the sixth amendment, a defendant has a right to a trial by “an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed “. Kopp crime includes as an element “travel in interstate… commerce” 18 U.S.C. §2250(a)(2)(B), which Kopp began in Georgia. Where a federal statute does not “expressly provide” for venue, the crime may be prosecuted in “any district” where the crime was “begun, continued, or completed”. The statute that Kopp violated, does not provide for venue, so Kopp may be prosecuted in any district where he begun, continued, or completed the crime. Kopp does not dispute that he traveled from Georgia to Florida in an interstate commerce and then failed to update his registration. Because the crime consist of both traveling and failing to register, Kopp began his crime in Georgia and consummated in Florida, venue lies in Georgia.

Kopp sentence for violating his supervised release was substantively reasonable. As a condition for his release, he was required to remain in a halfway house, Dismas Charities. He admitted that he failed to remain at Dismas Charities. He was sentenced for that violation. In March 2014 he returned to Dismas Charities to continue his supervised release. In May he left through an emergency exit and failed to report his whereabouts. He was arrested weeks later. The court of appeals says the district court did not sentence him “outside the range of reasonable sentences”, by varying upward from the guideline range by six months. Kopp has a long violent history of crime; the crimes that Kopp had committed made him a potential threat to public safety. The district court did not commit a “clear error of Judgment”.

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