| (93-723), |
[ Stevens ]
[ Scalia ]
[ Rehnquist ]
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
UNITED STATES, PETITIONER v. X CITEMENT VIDEO, INC., et al.
on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit
In my opinion, the normal, commonsense reading of a subsection of a criminal statute introduced by the word "knowingly" is to treat that adverb as modifying each of the elements of the offense identified in the remainder of the subsection. 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(1) reads as follows:
"(a) Any person who--
(1) knowingly transports or ships in interstate or foreign commerce by any means including by computer or mails, any visual depiction, if--
(A) the producing of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and
(B) such visual depiction is of such conduct; . . ." (Emphasis added).
Surely reading this provision to require proof of scienter for each fact that must be proved is far more reasonable than adding such a requirement to a statutory offense that contains no scienter requirement whatsoever. Cf. Staples v. United States, 511 U. S. ___, ___ (1994) (Stevens, J., dissenting). Indeed, as the Court demonstrates, ante, at 4-5, to give the statute its mostgrammatically correct reading, and merely require knowledge that a "visual depiction" has been shipped in interstate commerce, would be ridiculous. Accordingly, I join the Court's opinion without qualification.