Argued: December 6, 2016
from the United States District Court for the District of
Maryland, at Baltimore. J. Frederick Motz, Senior District
Judge. (1:04-cr-00052-JFM-1; 1:12-cv-03370-JFM)
Raman, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Greenbelt,
Maryland, for Appellant.
Elizabeth Davis, DAVIS & DAVIS, Washington, D.C., for
Rosenstein, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED
STATES ATTORNEY, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellant.
WILKINSON, AGEE, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges.
WILKINSON, Circuit Judge:
Schmidt pleaded guilty to traveling in foreign commerce and
engaging in illicit sexual conduct in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 2423(c). Schmidt now argues that, as a matter of law,
he did not travel in foreign commerce in connection with his
illicit sexual conduct and is thus actually innocent of the
offense. The district court agreed. We review the judgment of
the district court de novo, and for the reasons that follow,
words of the district court, Schmidt is a "sexual
predator." United States v. Schmidt, Civ. No.
JFM-13-3370, 2015 WL 5440732, at *1 (D. Md. Sept. 11, 2015).
He has been repeatedly convicted since 1984 for extensive and
grotesque sex offenses involving young boys.
2002, Schmidt fled the United States to the Philippines to
avoid arrest for allegedly making unauthorized contact with a
minor in violation of his parole. He obtained employment
there as a school instructor until he was arrested by
Philippine authorities for once again sexually molesting
young boys. In December 2003, Schmidt fled to Cambodia during
a period of pre-trial release, roughly eighteen months after
he first arrived in the Philippines. His pattern of sex
offenses nonetheless continued until he was arrested by
Cambodian authorities that same month. He was soon released
on "police watch" only to rape another young boy
within two days. As a result, Schmidt was deported to the
United States to face numerous criminal charges, including a
violation of § 2423(c) in Count 10 of his indictment for
illicit sexual conduct in Cambodia. Schmidt pleaded
unconditionally guilty to this charge and was sentenced to a
prison term of fifteen years and a lifetime of supervised
now petitions under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate his
conviction, arguing that he is actually innocent of violating
§ 2423(c) and that his counsel was ineffective for
failing to notice this defect at the time he entered his
plea. Schmidt does not deny his illicit sexual conduct.
Instead, Schmidt contends that his travel in foreign commerce
ended during his stay in the Philippines, long before his
illicit sexual conduct in Cambodia. He further claims that