Appeals Court Affirms Life Sentences for Fraudulent Porn Producers
MIAMI — The 11th Circuit of Appeals ruled to uphold the 2012 convictions of Emerson Callum and accomplice Lavont Flanders, Jr., who were given consecutive life sentences in jail for fraudulently luring and drugging women before filming them engaging in sexual acts and distributing the pornographic footage.
Accoring to the court document, Flanders, who used more than 13 aliases, would “recruit women off of modeling websites and convince them to travel to South Florida for an ‘audition’ for a liquor commercial. He usually advised the women to come alone to the audition.
“When they arrived, Flanders explained that they would need to act out a scene for a commercial before they could be taken to a second man, later identified as Callum, to film test footage. Flanders convinced the women that the auditions required them to taste alcohol, say scripted lines, and repeat the sceneseveral times. Unbeknownst to the women, the alcohol was laced with Benzodiazepines, a drug known to impair memory and reduce inhibitions.
“As Flanders drove the women to another location to meet Callum, whom they thought was a Bacardi agent, the victims became dizzy, groggy, and often ‘blacked out.’ Flanders and Callum then had the women sign Model Release Forms. The women remembered little, as they helplessly fell unconscious, waking momentarily only to realize that Callum was having sex with them while Flanders filmed.
“When they fully regained consciousness the following day in their cars or hotel rooms, they were disoriented, confused, and sometimes bleeding and covered in bodily fluids. At least four victims tested positive for Callum’s DNA, recovered from vaginal swabs, and for Benzodiazepines.
“Unbeknownst to the victims, Callum distributed and attempted to distribute videos of the assaults over the Internet and to businesses through his pornographic production company, Miami Vibes Enterprises. The distributed videos were edited to remove portions where the victims were obviously unconscious.”
Callum, who performed under the name Jah-T in the movies, was convicted of 14 of 18 counts relating to conspiracy, human trafficking and distribution of Xanax between May 2006 and February 2011. Accomplice Flanders, was convicted on all 18 counts of the same charges. Each was sentenced to multiple life sentences to be served consecutively.
Flanders appealed the conviction based on several alleged procedural fallacies, including that the drug counts omitted a citation to the statute, the Government fraudulently told the grand jury that the crimes involved minors, as well as claims of insufficient evidence, double jeopardy, denial of right to a public trial, and that he and Callum were victims of unreasonable sentencing and cruel and unusual punishment.
The 11th Circuit considered and responded to each and every claim, discussed in detail in the court document, and ultimately found them insufficient to topple their sentences.
"We affirm the Appellants’ convictions and sentences as well as the district court’s order denying disclosure of the grand jury transcripts and materials. Flanders’ pro se appeal of the Final Order of Forfeiture is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction,” the judges wrote in their conclusion filed May 27.