From the intro:
Cameron Dean Bates is a federal prisoner serving a 240-month sentence after being convicted of eighteen counts of receiving, accessing, distributing, and possessing child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A. He is also a man who has had sexual relationships with other adult men, a fact that came to be a central issue during his criminal trial. He challenges his convictions on several grounds. But we need only consider his argument that he should have been permitted to inquire of potential jurors whether they might harbor prejudice against men who have sex with men. Specifically, Mr. Bates argues that the District Court abused its discretion when it refused his request to ask prospective jurors during voir dire about any prejudice they might harbor against him on the basis of his sexual activity with other men. After careful review, and with the benefit of oral argument, we agree with Mr. Bates that the District Court should have examined whether the jurors might bear prejudices against him. While it is true that Mr. Bates stands charged and convicted of disturbing acts of receiving and distributing child pornography, we cannot condone the manner in which his convictions were obtained. As a result, we vacate the convictions.
From the end of the opinion:
The government cannot carry its burden to show that this error was harmless. If Mr. Bates is to be convicted, we must have sufficient assurances that it is done by a fair and impartial jury of his peers. Here, the risk that Mr. Bates was convicted by jurors who cared less about the charged criminal conduct than about his perfectly legal sexual activity, is intolerably high. His convictions must therefore be vacated, and we remand this case for further proceedings.
The court was also concerned with the amount of time the defense was given to prepare:
Although we do not decide Mr. Bates’s argument that the District Court abused its discretion by denying his motions to continue trial, on remand the District Court must assure itself that Mr. Bates has adequate resources to permit his expert to review the evidence, and enough time to pursue the evidence necessary to aid in his defense. Two circumstances of this case raise concern that Mr. Bates was not afforded the time or resources necessary to prepare an adequate defense during his first trial. First, there was a delay of several months in getting approval for funds for an expert. ...
Second, we are concerned that Mr. Bates did not have enough time to prepare his defense, given that the focus of his prosecution shifted abruptly before trial. Mr. Bates was originally charged on August 23, 2012 in a two count indictment that included only one specific date on which child pornography was allegedly distributed, and gave a range of dates spanning sixteen months over which child pornography was allegedly downloaded or accessed. On February 14, 2013, just two weeks before trial, the government superseded on the indictment, increasing the number of counts to eighteen and highlighting much more detailed information about the dates and times child pornography was downloaded, accessed, and distributed. One week after that, the government disclosed a lengthy supplementary expert report, which was also more detailed than anything Mr. Bates had gotten from the government to that point. Given these late shifts in the focus of Mr. Bates’s prosecution, and the technical nature of the evidence the government presented, we are concerned that he did not have enough time to adequately defend himself during his first trial. See United States v. Verderame, 51 F.3d 249, 250–52 (11th Cir. 1995). If Mr. Bates is retried on remand, we hope and expect that the District Court will be mindful of his need for expert assistance and adequate time to prepare for trial.