(CN) – The Supreme Court will decide whether a lower court correctly set aside the conviction of a sex trafficker known as “S&M Svengali.” The justices on Tuesday agreed to hear the government’s appeal of a case involving Glenn Marcus, who received nine years in prison for beating, sexually abusing and humiliating a woman who had agreed to appear in photos as his “sex slave.”
Marcus met his alleged victim, Jodi, through a bondage Web site, and the two agreed to meet in Maryland in 1998. During the visit, Marcus whipped Jodi and carved the word “slave” on her stomach with a knife, according to prosecutors.
On subsequent visits, Marcus allegedly branded Jodi, whipped and choked her during sex, “punished” her for disobedience and made her ask his permission to contact her family.
She said the relationship turned non-consensual after he handcuffed her to a wall and beat her as punishment for refusing to arrange a meeting with her younger sister. Jodi testified that she felt “completely beaten down,” “trapped” and “full of terror.”
She claimed Marcus continued to beat her, drug her and have sex with her, and forced her to write diary entries about the incidents for his Web site.
Marcus was sentenced to nine years in prison for sex-trafficking and forced-labor violations.
But the 2nd Circuit threw out his conviction on the basis that some of the offenses occurred before the passage of the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which was used to prosecute him.
The court said application of the Act “constituted an Ex Post Facto Clause violation,” meaning it retroactively changed the legal consequences of Marcus’ crimes.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor did not participate in the high court’s decision to review the case, because she was a judge on the 2nd Circuit panel.