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60-year Sentence in Child Pornography Case Is Found Substantively Reasonable

On Tuesday, the Second Circuit issued a decision in United States v. Brown. The opinion presents an interesting debate about how the federal system punishes defendants accused of child pornography charges. I encourage defense attorneys to check out both the concurrence and dissent, for some powerful arguments about the risks of unreasonable sentences in child pornography cases. Full Article

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  1. Greg

    This 60 year sentence seems fine to me. (it’s harsh, I don’t think it’s necessary, but it’s fine)

    This case involves a man who produced contact child porn with girls under age 10 on more than one occasion.

    My biggest problem is that THIS is the guy Americans think of when they hear the term “sex offender”. This is the guy sex offender laws are made for. This is the guy that requires lifetime supervision, public awareness, and harsh sentences.

    This is the guy Americans think of, but then they broadly apply the laws to many, many, people who are nothing like this monster.

    • Les Mis Life

      Right on all points! I often feel that boogeyman v. State appeals cases do more damage through precedent than the original law itself.

    • Timmr

      If even he can one day be seen as redeemable and the system of corrections is validated by a correct balance of punishment and forgiveness, how much easier then would it be for the lower level offenders to receive mercy?
      The tide of mercy/punishment is not very selective. It pushes all along in its flow, but will withdraw all with its ebb.

    • NPS

      I agree. This man did more than just view photos; he committed sexual acts against pre-pubescent children, photo/video documented them, and distributed. He deserves a lengthy sentence. This should be standard punishment for anyone who commits crimes like this or worse. If it was, there would be no need for a registry since the worst of the worst would be in prison for life.

      • Jonathon Merritt

        We have civil comitement for people that show a real threat of reoffending.
        For the rest of us, we will for a time remain on Americas Unwanted list.

    • Kiru Mondi

      I completely agree! This case was clearly not a case of false accusations, it wasn’t an accident or one-time mess up, it involved more than 1 child that were clearly violated.

    • Anon

      The opinion is well worth reading, if for only the facts, which are worse than most anyone could imagine. On the other hand, the dissent raises a valid point: “Brown could have murdered his victims, and he would not have received a harsher sentence.”

  2. ab

    No person should be sentenced to life in prison or what amounts to a life sentence. For anyone wishing to use the “some people are too dangerous argument”, I ask why societies allow people to go that far in the first place? People do not start out dangerous, they get there over time. Granted some arrive faster than others and some people don’t ever end up in a position where their full potential for destruction is realized. Something should definitely happen with the man in this case. Not that I have a concrete idea of what other than not 60 years in prison.

    • Chris F

      Your right. On one hand the guy got what he deserved, but on the other, if we are a society that believes in rehab and 2nd chances than he doesn’t have that avenue available at all.

      Since he won’t get out, he won’t even have the privilege of enduring the additional punishment of registration too.

    • Timmr

      I think you are asking they right question. Why are we not using knowledge and resources to change the reactionary system into a proactionary one? I think because too many benefit financially, emotionally from the reactionary one.

    • Les Mis Life

      The terms of his sentence can be debated for their harshness, I suppose. However, I am a proponent of individuals being sentences accorsingly. Being sentenced according to the laws on the books is constitutional, treating almost a million people like they are this guy on the outside is not.

  3. Mike

    Perversely, this guy scores lower on the Static 99R scam than had he not had physical contact with his victims at all. In other words, the mere fact that this was a “contact” offense gives this guy a LOWER Static 99R score than a single non-contact offender. Tell me how this makes sense.

    • Anon

      Interesting observation. Are you saying his not-contact offenses would not be counted in the S-99 score?

    • Timmr

      From what I see, his non contact offenses, from what I see on the Static 99R form, would give him only one point more. The Static 99 is not heavily weighted towards non contact offenses, but violent offenses, at least that is what I see on the form. I don’t know where you are getting this other information. Also, it’s rather a moot point after being 60 years in prison what his score is. I am sure he would rather be out of prison and on the registry, than in prison. It is also intuitive to think a worse index crime, say a contact offense vs. a non contact offense, necessarily puts you at greater risk of offending – intuitive, but not necessarily correct. If we are criticizing the system for using allegorical, intuitive reasoning and not empirical, we have to be careful using the “his crime was more heinous, therefore he is at greater risk of offending” argument.

    • abolishtheregistry.com

      It “might” make sense if we think like government. I’ll bet there are an enormous amount of non-contact cases. Demonizing non-contacts gives them more revenue, more need for future revenue and more avenues for other agendas. More calls for control of the internet by using the statistics they’re making now.

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