The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals published a new opinion yesterday, United States v. Garner, No. 200800481, __ M.J. __ (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. May 19, 2009). The opinion affirms the findings and sentence, but on its way there the opinion has an extensive analysis of the “substantial step” requirement for the offense of attempting to entice a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity under § 2422(b) and finds unreasonable multiplication of charges. Here is the opinion’s bottom line (which stretched the line between attempt and not a crime, in my opinion) on the “substantial step” requirement:

We are persuaded that the appellant’s “grooming” behavior, to include an expressed suggestion to meet in person, provide an adequate factual basis to support the appellant’s guilty plea to attempting to entice a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity under § 2422(b).

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