Date: April 18, 2017
“When Joseph Jenkins went on vacation in May 2009, he brought his collection of child pornography with him. That decision led to a prison sentence so severe that a federal appeals court yesterday deemed it “substantively unreasonable” in a decision that shows how mindlessly punitive federal sentencing guidelines for child pornography offfenses have become.
[…] After Jenkins skipped bail in Canada, he was charged under U.S. law. In 2014 he was convicted of possessing and transporting child pornography, and a federal judge sentenced him to nearly 19 years in prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release. Given the nature of Jenkins’ crimes, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled, the judge “went far overboard.”
The 2nd Circuit’s decision illustrates the impact of congressional edicts that call for stiff sentencing enhancements based on factors that are routine in child pornography cases. Jenkins’ criminal history was limited to a single misdemeanor, he did not produce or distribute child pornography, and his crimes did not involve contact with minors. Yet U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby calculated that the recommended sentence was 210 to 262 months, thanks mainly to enhancements for using a computer, for possessing more than 600 images (with each video counting as 75 images), for possessing images of prepubescent children, and for possessing images featuring masochistic, sadomasochistic, or other violent content. “These enhancements,” the 2nd Circuit notes, “have caused Jenkins to be treated like an offender who seduced and photographed a child and distributed the photographs and worse than one who raped a child.”
That’s right: If Jenkins had raped a child, his recommended sentence would have been shorter than the one he got for trying to carry pictures of such crimes into Canada for his own personal viewing.”
It’s telling, all the little tricks, smoke and mirrors they come up with, in order to enhance sentencing…when what someone is being railroaded over, wasn’t especially serious in the first place.
Now, fine…yes…a child being tormented is absolutely wrong…if that is, in fact, in any way related to this case…
…But what we are talking about, is an individual possessing images and recordings of whatever took place.
Even if you find the content in question deplorable…we are not talking about someone who objectively needs to be thrown into prison [let alone for almost two decades].
It is insane, how they keep jacking up these sentences…for no reason at all, except that they want to be all the more vicious in their sentencing…And they do this even in the face, of knowledge that this is counterproductive.
Well…at least a tiny bit of sanity finally showed up, in this case…however meager it may be.