United States v. Valle

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Evidence

New York Law Journal

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Judge Paul Gardephe

Through emails and Internet "chats"—purportedly discussing plans to kidnap, torture, kill and cannibalize women—Valle allegedly conspired to kidnap women. He is charged with conspiring to commit kidnapping, and unauthorized access of a federal database. Valle claims to suffer from a psychological condition causing him to derive sexual excitement from imagined psychological or physical suffering of women. Asserting lack of criminal intent, he claimed "chats" reflected only sexual fantasies. The court denied government's motion to preclude Dietz from testifying about Valle's psychological condition and to preclude Heriot from testifying about the subculture prevalent on sexual fetish sites frequented by Valle. As in United States v. Joseph the court had no reason to believe the average juror was familiar with the role-playing activity that Herriot was prepared to explain in the context of sexually oriented conversations in cyberspace. Nor would the average juror be familiar with the sexual fetish websites on which Valle encountered his alleged coconspirators. Also, Dietz will address subjects "beyond the ken of the average juror." The jury can accept Dietz's testimony in its entirety and still conclude that Valle had criminal intent.

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