Defendant James Mozie ran prostitution ring from his house, commonly known as the Boom Boom Room by his customers. Mozie recruited vulnerable teenage girls by posing as a modeling agent, luring them to the Boom Boom Room, and forcing them to have sex with him and his customers. In 2011, law enforcement agents raided the Boom Boom Room and Mozie was subsequently charged with one count of conspiring to commit child sex trafficking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1594(c), eight counts of child trafficking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a) and one count of producing child pornography in vilation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a). The jury convicted Mozie of all ten counts and he was sentenced to the guideline-recommended sentence of life imprisonment. On appeal, Mozie claimed his conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a) violated the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Mozie argued that the statute is facially unconstitutional because it allows the government to obtain a conviction without proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew his victim was a minor. The Court held that the statute is not unconstitutional because it requires the Government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the victim. If such element is proven, then the Government need only prove that the defendant recklessly disregarded that victims age. The Court explained that the Due Process clause does not prevent Congress from criminalizing reckless conduct, especially in the context of statutory rape and other measures to protect young children from sexual exploitation. Additionally, Mozie contended that his conviction should be reversed because his indictment was constructively amended by the district court. Mozie’s indictment alleged conjunctively that he knew and recklessly disregarded his victims’ age. The district court, however, instructed the jury that they could convict Mozie “if they found he either knew his victims were minor or recklessly disregarded the fact that they were minors.” The Court held that there was no constructive amendment of the indictment because when an indictment charges in the conjunctive, the jury instructions may properly be framed in the disjunctive.
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