appeal from a judgment rendered by the Court of Appeals No.
0352-17-4 of Virginia.
Leigh Stoltz challenges his conviction for violating Code
§ 18.2-374.3(C) by using a computer for the purpose of
soliciting a minor. Stoltz claims that the statute is both
vague and overbroad, thus violating his freedom of speech and
his due process rights under the First and Fourteenth
Amendments of the United States Constitution. The trial court
and the Court of Appeals disagreed with Stoltz, as do we.
appeal, we review the evidence in the 'light most
favorable' to the Commonwealth, the prevailing party in
the trial court." Commonwealth v. Perkins, 295
Va. 323, 323 (2018) (per curiam) (citation omitted).
"Viewing the record through this evidentiary prism
requires us to 'discard the evidence of the accused in
conflict with that of the Commonwealth, and regard as true
all the credible evidence favorable to the Commonwealth and
all fair inferences to be drawn therefrom.'"
Id. at 323-24 (citation omitted).
viewed, the record shows that in 2014, the Fairfax County
Police Department operated a Child Exploitation Unit
("CEU") dedicated to, among other things,
investigating "solicitations of minors by adults using
the [I]nternet as the main source of that solicitation."
1 J.A. at 272-73. Working in an "undercover
capacity," CEU detectives would pose as minors and
appear on websites "looking for potential child
predators." Id. at 273-74. In November 2014, a
CEU detective posed as a 13-year-old girl named Annie and
accessed the Casual Encounters webpage of Craigslist. At that
time, the Casual Encounters webpage allowed individuals to
post advertisements seeking casual, anonymous sex. A
notification on that webpage stated that only adults could
use it, but, as the detective testified, "there's no
verification of any kind" because the user does not
"have to provide a name, an email address, [or] an
identification. So it's open to everybody."
Id. at 275-76. Based upon his prior "training
and experience with child exploitation investigations,"
the detective knew that minors accessed the Casual Encounters
webpage of Craigslist. Id. at 276-77.
detective scanned through the advertisements on the Casual
Encounters webpage and discovered an advertisement, later
confirmed to have been posted by Stoltz, entitled:
"Can I CUM on you? Quick shot
and heavy load! - m4w - 34 (northern va)."
Commonwealth's Ex. 1 (emphasis in
original). Accompanied by a picture of an erect
penis, the pertinent part of Stoltz's advertisement
Sorry for the repost - but too many flakes...
Still so horny - blue balls type weekend. I really really
need to shoot my load and would love to shoot it on someone
who is turned on by cum shots, cum fetishes, or just loves to
get cummed on. Also anyone that is curious about it too... I
can be quick - or not - your call.
I will cum wherever you want me to -->
ass/chest/face/mouth/pussy/stomach/feet, etc. You will need
to host at your place -- or your office -- car.
Safe, VERY clean, normal, and cute white-guy here. Athletic
physique with a good sized and very cum filled cock.
Id. (alterations in original).
advertisement caught the detective's eye because some
advertisements on that webpage (he did not specify what
percentage) would expressly say: "I'm looking for an
adult, or I'm looking for an age range . . . twenty to
twenty-five, or eighteen and over." 1 J.A. at 329. The
"vagueness" of Stoltz's advertisement drew the
detective's attention based on his "experience
working these types of investigations" and the fact that
"[t]here was nothing specifically asking for an
adult." Id. Having "responded and looked
at thousands" of advertisements on Craigslist and
similar websites, the detective had "never seen" an
advertisement that explicitly said an adult was looking for
sex with a minor. Id. at 329-30. Pedophiles are
never that direct, the detective explained, because
"Craigslist would remove the ad immediately" if it
expressly sought out a minor. Id. at 330.
detective responded to Stoltz's advertisement posing as
13-year-old Annie, stating that she was not in school that
day. When Annie offered to send a photograph of herself,
Stoltz responded that he would love to see one. The detective
sent Stoltz a picture of the face of an adult Fairfax County
animal control officer. Pictures of the animal control
officer, a 25-year-old with a youthful face, had been used in
prior undercover investigations. The email conversation
through Craigslist continued with Annie asking what Stoltz
wanted to do. Annie also asked Stoltz whether it was okay
that she could not drive. Stoltz responded that he would
"like to do what I said in my ...