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USA v James Mozie

5-22-2014 Florida:

USA v James Mozie

James Mozie hosted “parties” at his house six days a week, every day but Sunday. With the help of his family members, including his teenage sons, he sold food, alcohol, and drugs to his party guests. He also sold sex, providing young girls who would strip for tips and have sex for money. Many of them were teenagers and one was only thirteen. For them Mozie’s home was a den of degradation.

Mozie found the teenage girls he used by posing as a benevolent businessman who ran a modeling agency. He was anything but benevolent and no respectable business would have been named, as his was, “Pretty Pink Pussy Enterprises.” Mozie preyed on vulnerable girls, many of whom were teenage runaways with no money and no shelter. In return for alcohol, drugs, and a place to stay, the young girls became what he called his “merchandise.”

Mozie’s brothel business led to a ten-count indictment charging him with eight counts of child sex trafficking, one count of conspiring to commit child sex trafficking, and another count of producing child pornography. He was convicted on all ten counts and sentenced to life imprisonment. This is Mozie’s appeal in which he raises three challenges to his convictions and two challenges to his sentence.

I. The Facts as the Victims Knew Them

Because there are sufficiency of the evidence challenges, we set out the facts in some detail. The story of James Mozie and his house of ill repute, known by reputation as “the Boom Boom Room,” is best told by the teenage victims he recruited to work there. Seven of the eight who were identified in the indictment testified against Mozie at trial. This is their story with the facts taken largely from their testimony:

... ... ... ...

Mozie's claim that his punishment is disproportionate because he did not use coercion, violence, or the threat of violence stands on flawed factual and legal grounds. Factually, the evidence at trial showed that Mozie did employ some coercion and violence to run his brothel.

He struck and choked M.J. when she did not follow his commands, and he essentially kidnapped C.C. and B.C. to bring them to his house. Legally, even if Mozie had not used any violence or coercion, the "absence of violence in the crimes being punished [is] not determinative of the disproportionality issue because `the presence or absence of violence does not always affect the strength of society's interest in deterring a particular crime or in punishing a particular criminal.'" Farley, 607 F.3d at 1337 (quoting Rummel v. Estelle, 445 U.S. 263, 275, 100 S.Ct. 1133, 1140 (1980)).

Society has a strong interest in deterring individuals from sexually exploiting children and in punishing those who do. Given the seriousness of his crimes, Mozie's sentence was not grossly disproportionate to his crimes and it does not violate the Eighth Amendment.6


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