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June 24, 2010

Fascinating data on recent trends and circuit specifics for federal child porn sentences

A few weeks ago, US District Judge Gregory Presnell asked whether I had any detailed or circuit-specific data regarding federal sentences for child porn offenses. I responded that the US Sentencing Commission would be the place to get such data, and Judge Presnell inquired of the Commission.  And now I am happy to report that Judge Presnell has provided me with the information that was provided to him, and he has even written up this helpful summary of what the Commission data shows:

Pursuant to my request, the USSC sent me data related to sentences imposed under U.S.S.G. 2G2.2 for the fiscal years 2007-2009. That data is presented in the attached tables.

Nationwide, from 2007 to 2009, the number of sentences imposed under this guideline almost doubled, from 853 to 1,546, and the percentage of below-guideline sentences increased from 30.8% to 51.6%.  Similarly, the average percentage reduction increased from 36.3% in 2007 to 40.3% in 2009.  Thus, during the last fiscal year more than half of all child porn sentences were below the minimum guideline sentence, and the average reduction was approximately 40%.

Excluding the First Circuit and DC Circuit (whose case loads are too small to draw meaningful data), the percentage of sentences below the guideline range from a high of 65% in the Third Circuit to a low of 30% in the Fifth Circuit.  The average percentage reduction is highest in the Second Circuit at 47% and the lowest is the Seventh Circuit at 30%. Overall, there is not great disparity among the Circuits.

Compared with the Circuit Court data, the Middle District of Florida had a high percentage of below-guideline sentences -- 70.6%, but the average percentage reduction was 38.8%, near the national average in fiscal year 2009.  During that same period, the Eleventh Circuit was right at the national average with 51.4% of sentences below the guideline and an average reduction of 39%.

I suspect that any and everyone dealing with the always challenging issues surrounding the sentencing of child pornography offenses will be interested in the data that can be found in the charts available for downloading here: Download Circuit data on USSG 2G2.2 with tables.

Some related prior federal child porn prosecution and sentencing posts:

June 24, 2010 at 02:32 PM | Permalink

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Comments

If these findings are representative of American Justice, the children of this country are truly in jeopardy.
Child Pornography- is a misnommer. Child Sex Abuse imagery or Photographic evidence of a crime is the more correct term.
This is NOT a victimless crime and as supported by many studies, is not usually the only crme against children, perpetrated by the offender. Now more then ever our efforts to fight this crime must be doubled. The right to protect children is paramount. We need to begin by naming and shaming the judges who seek to minimize this crime.

Posted by: Laura | Jun 25, 2010 10:36:22 PM

Were not talking cases where the defendant manufactured the "imagery" but those who were in possession of said imagery. There is a difference. Someone possessing an image taken by some scumbag 15 years ago is victimless in that particular case - suggesting otherwise is just semantics

Posted by: Huh? | Jun 28, 2010 3:56:17 PM

Any naming and shaming to be done should be of the prosecutors who have rushed to incarcerate thousands of non-violent first time offenders. Often those who are incarcerated leave behind a family (including children) struggling to make ends meet on one paycheck and with children traumatized by the sloppy work done by federal agents.
Those who claim to want to protect children should want to protect all of them. Stop painting all those accused of having illegal images with the same brush.
"American Justice" is very well portrayed in Rough Justice in America (The Economist). People like Laura need to realize that our society is protected by sensible law that is based on emperical evidence.

Posted by: BGrace | Jul 27, 2010 6:13:43 PM

I would agree with this, its happening alot , great post

Posted by: data center storage | Jan 25, 2012 1:37:43 AM

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