Tuesday, May 16, 2017

60-year Sentence Was Not Unreasonable, Court Says

US v. Gallegos, 2017 WL 1735221 (10th Cir. 5/3/17) (unpub'd) - The Tenth Circuit is not sympathetic to the defendant's argument that his 60-year sentence for 22 counts of production of child pornography and 1 count of possession of child pornography is substantively unreasonable. In a plea agreement, the defendant admitted to producing about 110 videos and images of himself engaging in sexual acts with a minor when she was between the ages of 3 and 7 years old. He also admitted to possessing more than 200,000 images and 16,000 videos of child pornography. His offense level was calculated to be 53, so even though his criminal history category was I, his advisory guideline sentence was life imprisonment. The PSR reduced the offense level to 43, the maximum recognized under the guidelines, and recommended a total sentence on all counts of 70 years. Emphasizing the need for community safety and punishment (this was the worst case of child porn production and sexual assault on a young child the court had ever seen), the district court imposed a 60-year sentence. The panel concludes that the district court did weigh all the sentencing factors, including the mitigating factors of acceptance of responsibility, remorse, the defendant's claim of having been sexually abused as a child, his lack of criminal record, and a psychiatrist's report. Accordingly, the defendant did not show that the court's sentence was arbitrary, capricious, whimsical, or manifestly unreasonable.