U.S. high court rejects 'Dracula' sex trafficking case

by Reuters
Monday, 6 March 2017 14:57 GMT

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts (R) presents new Associate Justice Samuel Alito on the front steps of the Supreme Court in Washington in this 2006 archive photo on the day of Alito's investiture. REUTERS/Jason Reed

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The case centered on whether American courts can compel a non-U.S. citizen convicted of sex trafficking to pay restitution to a foreign victim for crimes committed outside the United States

By Andrew Chung

March 6 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to reconsider whether a Jamaican pimp who styled himself as Dracula, even wearing gold-plated fangs, must pay restitution to a woman he forced into prostitution in her native Australia.

The case involving Damion Baston centered on whether American courts can compel a non-U.S. citizen convicted of sex trafficking to pay restitution to a foreign victim for crimes committed outside the United States. Baston, convicted in Florida, argued the U.S. Constitution does not allow Congress to create laws covering conduct that occurs exclusively overseas.

Justice Clarence Thomas said the high court should have taken up the case in order to reaffirm that the U.S. government has limited powers and is "not the world's lawgiver."

Baston, accused of pimping women from Florida to Australia to the United Arab Emirates, was found guilty in Miami federal court in 2014 of 21 counts of sex trafficking and money laundering.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)