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United States v. Hoskins

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division

August 16, 2016

UNITED STATES PLAINTIFF
v.
JESSYCA HOSKINS DEFENDANT

          OPINION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On September 29, 2015, Jessyca Hoskins pled guilty to Count Two of an Indictment (Doc. 13) charging her with distributing child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1). On May 23, 2016, the Court sentenced Hoskins to 72 months imprisonment, five years supervised release, a $100 special assessment, and a $2, 400 fine. (Doc. 55). At the sentencing hearing, the Court did not determine whether the victim was entitled to restitution, because a week prior it had granted the Government's motion to hold a separate restitution hearing. (Doc. 50). That hearing occurred on August 10, 2016. The Government argued that $10, 000 in restitution would be appropriate, and Hoskins took the position that restitution should not be awarded at all. The Court indicated that it would be awarding restitution, but took the matter under advisement to consider the amount. It now finds that the victim is entitled to $7, 500 in restitution from Hoskins.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The facts of this case are incredibly upsetting, but a recounting of them is important to appreciating why an award of restitution is appropriate. As set forth in the Final Presentence Investigation Report (Doc. 59), over the weekend of March 20, 2015 to March 22, 2015, Jason Henry a/k/a "Allstar" prostituted a 14-year-old female, referred to herein as Jane Doe. Doe was sexually assaulted multiple times over the course of the weekend, while at Henry's direction she performed sexual activity in exchange for money. Henry later told investigators that he was introduced to Doe by Hoskins. On the night of March 21, 2015, Doe was sexually assaulted by an adult male named LaQuentin Jones at Hoskins' apartment. Hoskins filmed a three-minute-long video of the incident and sent the video to a minor child via Facebook.

         The following day, Doe sought treatment for her sexual assaults at the Washington Regional Medical Center. The Fayetteville, Arkansas police were notified, and contacted Hoskins at her apartment. Hoskins admitted to knowing that Jones was over the age of 18, that Doe was under the age of 18, and that she filmed and sent the video to the minor child. She was arrested on May 27, 2015, and charged in this Court on June 5, 2015. (Doc. 1). Both Henry and Jones were charged, convicted, and sentenced in state court.

         As a result of the aforementioned events, it is undisputed that Doe and her mother have incurred significant costs related to medical and psychological care, and will continue to incur such costs into the future. These costs included Doe's stay at a since-closed inpatient facility in Colorado, separate counseling in Colorado, and local counseling in Arkansas. See Doc. 49-2, pp. 4-6. As of May 11, 2016-roughly one year after the incident-Doe's mother estimated $28, 700 in expenses, with $10, 000 in future projected therapy costs. (Doc. 49-2, p. 1). This estimate included $20, 000 in medical and therapy expenses, $2, 400 in out-of-state travel expenses, $6, 000 in lost wages, and $300 for two cell phones. Id. at 7.

         Doe's mother has provided documentation to support some of these expenses. An invoice from a counseling service in Fayetteville, Arkansas shows $280.00 due for seven counseling sessions occurring over the span of one month. (Doc. 59-2, p. 2). A ledger from St. Paul's Church in Fayetteville shows that it paid for a total of $11, 895 in therapy costs from July to October of 2015. Id. at 3. Invoices from the therapy centers support these charges. Doe's Colorado therapist billed St. Paul's for eight therapy sessions over the span of 25 days in September of 2015, for a total of $675. Id. at 4. The inpatient center in Colorado charged $2, 280 for 19 days in August of 2015, and $3, 240 for 27 days in September of that year. Id. at 5-6. With respect to future costs, Doe's mother provided a letter from a Trauma and Recovery Specialist in Colorado, which noted:

In addition to the physical, emotional and psychological wounds left by sex trafficking, the financial cost of treatment is astronomical and often beyond the abilities of victims and their families. The average cost of residential treatment is $2, 000.00 per week; outpatient treatment costs an average of $1, 000.00 per week. This is an estimated cost of over $100, 000.00 per year.

Id. at 1.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Restitution in cases involving the sexual exploitation and abuse of children is governed by 18 U.S.C. § 2259. Under § 2259, restitution is mandatory. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 2259(a) ("[T]he court shall order restitution for any offense under this chapter." (emphasis added)); 2259(b)(4)(A) ("The issuance of a restitution order under this section is mandatory."). The restitution award, moreover, must be in the "full amount of the victim's[1] losses." Id. at (b)(1). A victim's losses include costs incurred due to "medical services relating to physical, psychiatric, or psychological care; physical and occupational therapy or rehabilitation; necessary transportation, temporary housing, and child care expenses; lost income; attorneys' fees, as well as other costs incurred; and any other losses suffered by the victim as a proximate result of the offense." Id. at (b)(3). Notably, the Court "may not decline to issue" restitution because of "the economic circumstances of the defendant" or "the fact that the victim has, or is entitled to, receive compensation for [her] injuries from the proceeds of insurance or any other source." Id. at (4)(B).

         Determining the proper amount of a restitution award is more complicated in sexual abuse and exploitation cases involving multiple offenders, some of whom are not defendants before the sentencing court. The prototypical example of this type of case is one in which a defendant possessed a widely circulated video of child pornography. The victim's damages in such cases are caused by potentially thousands of people, including those who produced the video, distributed the video, and possessed the video. The Supreme Court addressed the allocation of restitution in these cases in Paroline v. United States, 134 S.Ct. 1710 (2014). It held that restitution is "proper under § 2259 only to the extent the defendant's offense proximately caused a victim's losses." Id. at 1722. The Court then concluded that a "victim's costs of treatment and lost income resulting from the trauma of knowing that images of her abuse are being viewed over and over are direct and foreseeable results of child-pornography crimes, " and thus a proximate cause thereof. Id.

         Once proximate cause is established, a court must determine the proper amount of restitution by assessing "as best it can from available evidence the significance of the individual defendant's conduct in light of the broader causal process that produced the victim's losses." Id. at 1727-28. "This cannot be a precise mathematical inquiry and involves the use of discretion and sound judgment." Id. at 1728. While the inquiry evades application of "a precise algorithm, " district courts can begin by determining "the amount of the victim's losses caused by the continuing traffic in the victim's images, " and then "set an award of restitution ...


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