Articles Posted in Child Pornography

People accused of sex crimes will, at times, determine that it is best to enter a guilty plea in hopes of receiving a reduced sentence. In some cases, though, the courts will enter a greater sentence than the defendants anticipate. In such instances, the defendant may be able to appeal the sentence issued, but if they cannot demonstrate that the court committed an error, their appeal will likely be denied, as shown in a recent Florida case. If you are accused of a sex crime, it is prudent to consult a Clearwater sex crime lawyer regarding your rights.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with using a minor to produce child pornography, distributing child pornography, and possessing child pornography. The charges stemmed from an incident in October 2021, in which an online FBI employee received messages containing child pornography from an individual later identified as the defendant. Subsequent investigations revealed the defendant involvement in the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography, including images and videos of his daughter.

Reportedly, a search of the defendant’s residence uncovered evidence supporting the charges. The defendant pled guilty to all counts without objection and faced an advisory guidelines sentence of life imprisonment. At sentencing, the defendant did not contest the PSR’s recommendation. The district court considered various factors, including the defendant’s military service, and sentenced him to 840 months. He then appealed.

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The Florida legislature enacted laws setting forth sentencing guidelines that the courts must consider when determining an appropriate penalty for a criminal conviction. Courts have the discretion to set forth sentences outside of the guidelines, though, if they deem it appropriate in consideration of any relevant factors. Any sentence that falls outside of the guidelines must be reasonable, however, otherwise it may demonstrate an abuse of discretion. Recently, a Florida court discussed what constitutes a reasonable sentence in a case in which the defendant was convicted of producing child pornography and other sexual offenses involving minors. If you are charged with a sex crime, it is smart to hire a Clearwater sex crime defense lawyer to help you mount a compelling defense.

The History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with and convicted of enticing a minor to engage in sexual acts and producing child pornography. He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison. He appealed, arguing that the sentencing court abused its discretion in issuing the sentence. The appellate court disagreed, finding that the sentence imposed was substantively reasonable.

Evaluating Whether a Sentence is Reasonable

The courts review the reasonableness of a sentence for an abuse of discretion. If a sentence falls outside of the range suggested by the guidelines, the reviewing court can consider the degree of the deviation but must defer to the sentencing court’s determination that the sentencing factors, in their entirety, justify the degree of the variance. Continue Reading ›

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