The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a New Jersey U.S. District Judge’s decision to impose a sentence of less than the mandatory minimum for a defendant convicted of child pornography charges. In United States v. Grober, the defendant pled guilty to six child pornography charges. Under the sentencing guildelines set forth by the Department of Justice, the judge was advised to sentence the defendant to a term between 235 to 293 months imprisonment. Calling the guidelines “draconian”, the judge instead sentenced the defendant to 60 months imprisonment, the mandatory minimum sentence.
The Department of Justice appealed the sentence, arguing that the District Court rejected the guidelines without adequately addressing the prosecution’s arguments about the rationales of Congress and the Sentencing Commission, embodied in the guidelines. However, they did not argue that the District Court lacked the authority to disagree with the guidelines on policy grounds, or that the sentence imposed was substantively unreasonable. Upon review, in a 2-1 decision the Third Circuit rejected the government’s appeal, noting widespread dissatisfaction amongst federal judges as the sentencing guidelines for child pornography crimes have grown increasingly harsh.
All persons charged with crimes are entitled to the protections afforded by the United States Constitution. An experienced criminal defense attorney helps to ensure that a defendant’s rights are protected before, during and after a trial. If you have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. For a confidential consultation, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff at (215) 563-9800 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.