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United States v. Sutcliffe

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

February 7, 2007, Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California; October 11, 2007, Filed

No. 04-50189


 [*950]  McKAY, Circuit Judge:

Following a three-week jury trial, Defendant was convicted of three counts of making interstate threats to injure in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(c) and five counts of transferring social security numbers with the intent to aid and abet unlawful activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7). He raises numerous issues on appeal.


Defendant, a computer technician, was hired by Global Crossing Development Company in August 2001. Shortly thereafter, however, his employment was terminated because he refused to provide the Human Resources Department with his social  [**2] security number, Global Crossing discovered that he had failed to disclose past criminal convictions on his job application, and he threatened the director of Human Resources. After his termination, Defendant began picketing outside the Global Crossing building with a sign referring to a website he had created. On this website, Defendant displayed Global Crossing employees' personal information, including payroll information, social security numbers, birth dates, and residential addresses, with some of this information hyperlinked to an article about identity theft.

When Global Crossing's manager of policy enforcement was informed of the website,  [*951]  he began periodically archiving copies of the website. These copies were turned over to the FBI, which also archived screen-shots of the website on three occasions. As they visited the website, Global Crossing officials and the FBI saw increasing amounts of personal information posted online. Specifically, the number of Global Crossing employees whose social security numbers were displayed online increased from approximately fifteen on October 24, 2001, to well over a thousand on December 3, 2001.

Global Crossing obtained a temporary restraining  [**3] order against Defendant in October 2001. A process server drove to Defendant's California residence to serve the order on him in a vehicle bearing South Dakota license plates. As she was leaving his residence after serving the papers on him, she observed Defendant writing something on a piece of paper.

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505 F.3d 944 *; 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 23815 **

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. STEVEN WILLIAM SUTCLIFFE, Defendant-Appellant.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. CR-02-00350-AHM. A. Howard Matz, District Judge, Presiding.

Disposition: AFFIRMED.


website, sentence, social security number, abet, appointed, argues, threats, district court, true threat, indictment, right to counsel, speedy trial, continuances, counts, posted, interstate commerce, Internet, motions, servers, waived, specific intent, de novo, online, selective prosecution, personal information, displayed, employees, pretrial, recusal, rights

Criminal Law & Procedure, Jurisdiction & Venue, Jurisdiction, Computer & Internet Law, General Overview, Constitutional Law, Commerce Clause, Interstate Commerce, Business & Corporate Compliance, Computer & Internet Law, Criminal Offenses, Data Crimes & Fraud, Assault & Battery, Simple Offenses, Elements, Fundamental Freedoms, Judicial & Legislative Restraints, Overbreadth & Vagueness of Legislation, Defenses, Fundamental Rights, Criminal Process, Assistance of Counsel, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Right to Counsel, Counsel, Right to Counsel, Speedy Trial, Preliminary Proceedings, Speedy Trial, Statutory Right, Statutory Right, Excludable Time Periods, Pretrial Motions & Procedures, Disqualification & Recusal, Abuse of Discretion, Evidence, Trials, Motions for Acquittal, Accessories, Aiding & Abetting, Miscellaneous Offenses, Freedom of Speech, Accusatory Instruments, Indictments, Sentencing, Sentencing Guidelines, Appeals, Remand & Remittitur