This appeal raises the issue whether a juvenile adjudication can be considered
a prior conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 2252(b). We addressed in Smalley whether a
juvenile adjudication can constitute a prior conviction under the Armed Career
Criminal Act of 1984 (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). We determined that the use of a
juvenile adjudication for a violent felony to enhance a sentence does not violate
Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 490 (2000). We have also held that juvenile
adjudications for sexual misconduct can constitute prior convictions for sentencing
purposes in ACCA cases, see United States v. Nash, 627 F.3d 693, 696 (8th Cir. 2010)
(holding that a juvenile adjudication resulting in an adult sentence was a predicate
conviction under the ACCA), and that juvenile adjudications can constitute prior
convictions for sentencing purposes in drug offenses, United States v. Dieken, 432
F.3d 906, 908-09 n.2 (8th Cir. 2006).
Woodard first contends that Smalley is inapposite because it involved the
ACCA, a statute that characterizes juvenile adjudications as prior convictions. See 18
U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(C). In contrast, 18 U.S.C. § 2252(b)(2) includes no similar
characterization, leading Woodard to argue that the absence of such a definition
reflects Congress’s intent that a juvenile adjudication not be considered as a prior
conviction in the context of violations of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(b)(2). “We review claims
of constitutional error and issues of statutory construction de novo.” United States v.
Smith, 656 F.3d 821, 826 (8th Cir. 2011) (quoting Royal v. Kautzky, 375 F.3d 720,
722 (8th Cir. 2004)).
After noting in Smalley that Congress characterized juvenile adjudications as
prior convictions in ACCA violation cases, 294 F.3d at 1031, we went on to conclude
that Congress’s characterization was not dispositive, however, because whether a