Monday, January 30, 2012

what he faces

Because it is a federal crime and because the federal statutes carry a mandatory minimum sentence for receipt of child porn, if he is convicted, he will be sentenced to at least five years in a federal prison. So, let's break all that down.

"It's a federal crime," as one of the cops told me in a tone intended to impress on me the seriousness of the matter.What makes it a federal crime? Because the feds were the ones tracking his IP (computer address). Not because his crime is especially awful, but because the local cops didn't find him first. His crime is the same as the guys sentenced to probation in country court. The same.

Mandatory minimum sentence. That means the judge has no opportunity to look at each case and decide a sentence based on an individual situation. A 19-year-old who received a naughty photo of his 16-year-old girlfriend? Mandatory minimum. Forty-year-old who spent too much time with online porn and downloaded a zip file that contained an underage surprise? Mandatory minimum. Legislators like to look tough on crime, and a mandatory minimum sounds tough. This happens all the time with drug possession cases, by the way.

No comments: