Christopher Handley's Plea Agreement

Feb 24th 2010
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff,

v.

CHRISTOPHER S. HANDLEY,
Defendant.

Criminal No.1:07-030

PLEA AGREEMENT

IT IS HEREBY AGREED by and between the United States of America ("Plaintiff") and Christopher S. Handley ("Defendant"), with the advice of his attorney, Eric Chase, as follows:

A. CHARGES
1. Subject Offenses. The Defendant will plead guilty to Count Two of the Superseding Indictment, which charges him with Possession of Obscene Visual Representations of the Sexual Abuse of Children, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1466A(b), and Count Five, Mailing Obscene Matter, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1461 and § 2.

2. Charges Being Dismissed. Should the Defendant abide by all the terms and conditions of this Plea Agreement, the Plaintiff will move, at sentencing, to dismiss the remaining substantive counts on the Indictment, namely Counts One (1), Three (3), and Four (4), which charge Receipt and Possession of Obscene Visual Representations of the Sexual Abuse of Children.

3. No Further Prosecution. The Plaintiff agrees that the Defendant will not be charged in the Southern District of Iowa with any other federal criminal offense under Title 18, United States Code, arising from or directly relating to this investigation, except for any crimes of violence. However, this agreement does not apply to (1) any uncharged crimes of violence, (2) any criminal act which the Defendant has not fully disclosed to law enforcement prior to sentencing, and (3) any offense committed after the execution of this agreement.

B. CONSEQUENCES OF PLEA
4. Maximum Punishment. Count Two is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum fine of not more than $250,000.00, or both. In addition there is a special assessment of $100.00, and a term of supervised release of 3 years. Count Five (5) is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years, a maximum fine of not more than $250,000.00, or both. In addition there is a special assessment of $100.00, and a term of supervised release of 3 years. Forfeiture of all visual depictions which were produced, transported, mailed, shipped or received in violation of the law, and all personal property used or intended to be used to commit or to promote the commission of the offense, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1467, must also be imposed at sentencing.

5. Mandatory Minimum. There is no minimum term of imprisonment.

6. Waiver of Rights. In connection with the Defendant's plea of guilty pursuant to this agreement, the defendant acknowledges that the Defendant has been informed of, and understands, the following:

a. the right of the United States, in any related cases, to use against the defendant any statement that he makes in this proceeding;
b. the right to plead not guilty, and to persist in that plea;
c. the right to a public and speedy jury trial;
d. the right to be represented by counsel - and if necessary to have the court appoint counsel - at trial and at every other stage of the proceeding;
e. the right at trial to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, to be protected from compelled self-incrimination, to testify and present evidence, and to compel the attendance of witnesses; and
f. the defendant will have waived these trial rights upon the District Court's acceptance of the Defendant's plea of guilty.

C. SENTENCING CONSIDERATIONS
7. Sentencing Guidelines - Factors. The sentence to be imposed is solely within the District Court's discretion, as limited and guided by the United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines, which apply in an advisory manner to this offense. The Sentencing Guidelines establish a sentencing range based upon factors determined to be present in the case, potentially including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:

a. the base offense levels, under U.S.S.G. § 2G2.2 for Count Two (2) and U.S.S.G. § 2G3.1 under Count Five (5);
b. any applicable enhancements under either U.S.S.G. § 2G2.2 or § 2G3.1;
c. the defendant's acceptance or lack of acceptance of responsibility, with the parties stipulating as a recommendation to the Court that defendant receive a three (3) level decrease of offense level under U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1 (b) for acceptance ofresponsibility, unless the Defendant hereafter engages in conduct inconsistent with the acceptance of responsibility, including, but not limited to, obstruction of justice.
d. the Defendant's criminal history (prior convictions);
e. other relevant conduct;

8. No Promises. The Plaintiff makes no representations or promises as to the sentence to be imposed, as this is solely within the District Court's discretion. Although the parties may have discussed the possibilities of various factors having an impact on the sentence and the possibility of a certain sentencing range, the parties agree that no discussion resulted in any express or implied promise or guarantee concerning the actual sentence to be imposed.

9. No Right to Withdraw Plea. The Defendant understands that he will have no right to withdraw his guilty plea if the sentence imposed, or the application of the United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines, is not what he anticipated. The parties understand the Court may defer its decision to accept the plea until there has been an opportunity to review a presentence investigation report.

10. Evidence at Sentencing. The Defendant, the Defendant's attorney, and the Plaintiff's attorney will be permitted to make whatever comment and evidentiary offer they deem appropriate at the time of the guilty plea, sentencing, or any other proceeding related to this case, provided such offer or comment does not violate any other provision of this agreement. The parties are also free to provide all relevant information to the U.S. Probation Office for use in preparing a presentence report. The parties agree that either party may present evidence by way of telephone or deposition transcript, and to this extent Defendant agrees to waive any right of face-to-face confrontation at the sentencing hearing.

11. Fines/Costs. Issues relating to fines and/or costs of incarceration are not dealt within this agreement, and the parties are free to espouse their respective positions at sentencing.

12. Special Assessment. The Defendant agrees to pay to the United States a special assessment of $100.00 per count, as required by 18 U.S.C. § 3013. The Defendant agrees to make payment (by cashiers check or money order payable to "Clerk, U.S. District Court") to the U. S. Attorney's Office within two weeks (14 days) of the execution of this agreement. Failure to comply with this paragraph is a significant breach of this agreement.

D. FORFEITURE
13. Consent to Forfeit and Entry of Preliminary Order of Forfeiture. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1467, the Defendant agrees to forfeit all interests in his computer and all obscene visual depictions seized and retained by the government, and hereby consents to entry of a preliminary order of forfeiture concerning the above-referenced property at the change of plea hearing.

14. Basis of Forfeiture. The Defendant acknowledges that all property covered by this Plea Agreement is subject to forfeiture as contraband and property used to commit illegal conduct.

15. Waiver of Right to Contest Forfeiture. The Defendant further agrees to waive all interests in any such asset in any administrative or judicial forfeiture proceeding, whether criminal or civil, state or federal.

16. Forfeiture-related sentencing Issues. The Defendant acknowledges that he understands that the forfeiture of assets is part of the sentence that may be imposed in this case and waives any failure by the court to advise him of this, pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. Rule 11 (b)(1)(1), at the time his guilty plea is accepted.

17. Hold Harmless Clause. The Defendant warrants that he is the sole owner of all of the property seized from him during this case, which he agrees to forfeit under this Plea Agreement, and he agrees to hold the United States, its agents and employees harmless from any claims whatsoever in connection with the seizure or forfeiture of property covered by this agreement.

18. Forfeiture Procedures. The Defendant agrees to consent to the entry of orders of forfeiture for such property and waives the requirements of Fed. R. Crim. P. 7, Fed. R. Crim. P. 32.2, Fed. R. Crim. P. 43(a), and any other applicable rules or right, regarding notice of the forfeiture in the charging instrument, announcement of the forfeiture at sentencing, and incorporation of the forfeiture in the judgment.

19. Defendant's Cooperation with the Forfeiture. The Defendant agrees to take all steps requested by the United States to pass clear title to the above-referenced property to the United States, and to testify truthfully in any judicial forfeiture proceeding. The Defendant's lack of cooperation, as determined by the United States, is a breach of this agreement.

20. Waiver of Claims. The Defendant further agrees to waive all constitutional, statutory, equitable, common law, or procedural challenges of any type, including direct appeal, habeas corpus, subsequent litigation, or any other means, to any forfeiture carried out in accordance with this Plea Agreement, on any grounds.

E. LIMITED WAIVER OF APPEAL AND § 2255
21. Limited Waiver of Appeal Rights. The Defendant hereby knowingly and expressly waives any and all rights to appeal his conviction in this case, including a waiver of all motions, defenses and objections which Defendant could assert to the charges or to the Court's entry of Judgment against Defendant, and any and all issues inhering therein.

22. Limited Waiver of Post-Conviction Review. The Defendant further knowingly and expressly waives any and all rights to contest the Defendant's conviction of the subject charges in any post-conviction proceedings, including a proceedings under Title 28 U.S.C. § 2255, subject to the following exception:

a. The right to seek post-conviction relief based on ineffective assistance of counsel, or prosecutorial misconduct, if the grounds for such claim are not known to the Defendant, or not reasonably knowable by the Defendant, at the time the Defendant enters a plea pursuant to this plea agreement.

F. GENERAL MATTERS
23. Voluntariness of Plea. The Defendant acknowledges that he is entering into this plea agreement and is pleading guilty because he is guilty. He further acknowledges that he is entering into this agreement without reliance upon any discussions between the government and himself (other than those described in this plea agreement), without promise of benefit of any kind (other than any concessions contained in this plea agreement), and without threats, force, intimidation, or coercion of any kind. He further acknowledges that he understands the nature of the offenses to which he is pleading guilty, including the penalties provided by law.

24. Effect of a Law Violation. Any violation of law or any violation of pretrial release conditions committed by the Defendant after the date of this agreement will render this agreement voidable at the sole discretion of the United States.

25. Limited Scope of Agreement. This agreement does not limit, in any way, the right or ability of the United States to investigate or prosecute the Defendant for crimes occurring outside the scope of this agreement. Additionally, this agreement does not preclude the United States from pursuing any civil or administrative matters against the Defendant, including, but not limited to, civil tax matters and civil forfeiture, which arise from, or are related to, the facts upon which this investigation is based. This agreement binds only the parties hereto. It does not bind any state or local authority and does not bind any federal authority other than the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa.

26. Entire Agreement. This Plea Agreement, and any attachments, constitute the entire agreement between the parties. No other promises of any kind, express or implied, have been made to the Defendant by the Plaintiff United States or by its agents.

[There is no #27 in the Plea Agreement - Ed.]

28. Factual Stipulations. Attached hereto as Attachment "A" and incorporated by reference herein, are factual stipulations entered into between the parties, including the factual stipulations of the Defendant's offense conduct relating to each subject offense.

29. Use of Information. If the Defendant breaches the terms and conditions of this agreement, or is allowed to withdraw his guilty plea for any reason, the government is free to use against the Defendant Attachment "A" of this agreement. Attachment "A" may be used against the Defendant in any criminal prosecution, including prosecutions of the instant offense, perjury, obstruction of justice, or other applicable criminal prosecution relating to the giving of a false statement, as well as in any subsequent litigation between the parties.

30. Venue. Defendant agrees that the offense conduct relating to the subject offenses was committed, in whole or in part, in the Southern District of Iowa, and that the U. S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa, has proper venue of this agreement.

31. Public Interest. The Plaintiff and Defendant state this Plea Agreement is in the public interest, takes into account the benefit to the public of a prompt and certain disposition of the case, furnishes adequate protection to the public interest, is in keeping with the gravity of the offense, and promotes respect for the law.

32. Execution/Effective Date. This Plea Agreement does not become valid and binding until executed by each of the individuals (or their designated representatives) shown below. The United States Attorney's Office may withdraw this plea agreement offer at any time prior to its timely acceptance by the Defendant.
[For the Defendant to have timely accepted this plea agreement offer, he and his attorney must have properly executed the Plea Agreement, Attachment A (Stipulation of Facts), and the Statement by Defendant in Advance of Plea of Guilty, and the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa must have received delivery of said properly executed documents at its office at Room 286, U.S. Courthouse Annex, 100 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa, 50309-2053, by 5:00 p.m. on January 16, 2008. Should this offer of a Plea Agreement not have properly and timely been accepted by the Defendant by 5:00 p.m. on December 16, 2008, this offer is automatically withdrawn without further notice to Defendant.]
[The bracketed text was in strikethrough text in the original document - Ed.]
The undersigned hereby accept and agree to the terms and conditions set forth in this Plea Agreement. This Plea Agreement does not become valid and binding until executed by all of the parties hereto.

G. SIGNATURES
33. Defendant. I have read all of this Plea Agreement and have discussed it with my attorney. I fully understand the Plea Agreement and accept and agree with it without reservation. I do this voluntarily and of my own free will. No promises have been made to me other than the promises in this Plea Agreement. I have not been threatened in any way to get me to enter into this Plea Agreement. I am satisfied with the services of my attorney with regard to this Plea Agreement and other matters associated with this case. I am entering into this Plea Agreement and will enter my plea of guilty under this agreement because I committed the crime to which I am pleading guilty.

[Signed by Christopher S. Handley, Defendant, dated 4/16/09]

34. Defendant's Attorney. I have read this Plea Agreement and have discussed it in its entirety with my client. There is no Plea Agreement other than the agreement set forth in this writing. My client fully understands this Plea Agreement. I am satisfied my client is capable of entering into this Plea Agreement, and does so voluntarily of his own free will, and without any coercion or compulsion. I believe there is a factual basis for the plea and concur in my client entering into this Plea Agreement and in entering a plea of guilty pursuant to the Plea Agreement.

[Signed by Eric Chase, Attorney for Defendant, dated 4/21/09]

35. Plaintiff United States.

United States of America
Matthew G. Whitaker
United States Attorney

[Signed by Craig Peyton Gaumer, dated 5/20/09]

Craig Peyton Gaumer
Assistant United States Attorney
U. S. Courthouse Annex
110 East Court Ave., Room 286
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Tel: (515) 473-9300
Fax: (515)473-9292
Email: [email protected]

­

ATTACHMENT A
STIPULATION OF FACTS

COMES NOW Assistant United States Attorney Craig Peyton Gaumer, for and on behalf of the Plaintiff, United States of America, and the Defendant, Christopher S. Handley, and the Defendant's attorney, Eric Chase, and hereby stipulate and agree that the following facts are true and correct and may be used by the Court to establish a factual basis for the plea of guilty to be entered by Defendant pursuant to the plea agreement, and for purposes of sentencing and any subsequent litigation between the parties:

1. In May 2006, customs officials intercepted a mailed package from Japan addressed to the defendant at [ANN: Address Removed] that contained approximately seven books of Japanese manga, specifically cartoon drawings of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

2. Each book contains obscene images, with one book containing images of bestiality, including images of sex between a male pig and a minor human female, and images of a minor human female engaging in oral and genital intercourse with a male dog.

3. These books were delivered to and then recovered from the defendant on May 18, 2006.

4. A valid federal search warrant was executed at the defendant's home on May 18, 2006.

5. Numerous other obscene materials were recovered during the execution of the search warrant and retained by the government.

6. The seven intercepted books contained obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1466A(b) and § 1461.

7. Other books and materials seized and retained by the government were obscene within the meaning of § 1466A(b) and § 1461.

8. The defendant made voluntary statements, verbally and in writing, to the investigating law enforcement officers.

9. The defendant used his computer to order obscene material, and to store obscene material.

11. The defendant knowing possessed these obscene materials and knowingly used the mails and internet to order and obtain obscene materials.

12. Each of the books or images at issue were transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

13. The defendant hereby certifies that the facts set forth above are true and accurate to the best of his knowledge.

[Signed by Christopher S. Handley, Defendant, dated 4/16/09]
[Signed by Eric Chase, Attorney for Defendant, dated 4/21/09]
[Signed by Craig Peyton Gaumer, Assistant U.S. Attorney, dated 5/20/09]


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