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January 13, 2011

Seventh Circuit affirms 210-month prison sentence for child porn dowloader/purveyor

Ayone who follows closely the discussion and debate over federal child pornography sentencing terms will want to be sure to check out today's work by the Seventh Circuit in US v. Mantanes, No. 10-1590 (7th Cir. Jan. 13, 2011) (available here), which affirms a within-guideline 210-month sentence for a defendant found with a collection of "1,380 images and 141 videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct."  There are various interesting aspects of Mantanes, including this discussion of the Second Circuit's work in the Dorvee case:

Mantanes also argues that his sentence was substantively unreasonable.  He urges us to follow the reasoning of the Second Circuit in Dorvee.  But Dorvee is easily distinguishable. In remanding for resentencing in Dorvee, the Second Circuit expressed concern that the sentencing judge assumed that the defendant was likely to assault a child (although he was convicted of a noncontact offense), and that this assumption motivated the sentencing judge to place “unreasonable weight” on the need to protect the public. Dorvee, 616 F.3d at 183.

Although Mantanes was also convicted of a noncontact offense, the judge here did not place unreasonable weight on the need to protect the public from Mantanes; it was just one of the many factors considered at sentencing.  In evaluating this factor, the judge found it telling that Mantanes’ own expert concluded that he was a pedophile with ongoing fantasies.  The judge also received victim impact statements from some of the then-children pictured in the pornographic images traded by Mantanes, as well as a statement from Mantanes’ estranged wife about the on-going damage his behavior has caused her family.

January 13, 2011 at 03:48 PM | Permalink

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Comments

The panel here engaged in a lazy cop-out on its treatment of Dorvee.

If you were to read this opinion, not having read Dorvee, you would think that the 2d Circuit's discussion on the infirmities of 2G2.2 was almost an after-thought in that opinion. Not so, and this panel is disingenuous in its treatment of Dorvee.

In addressing Dorvee's discussion on the infirmities of 2G2.2, the 7th Circuit panel devotes 1 paragraph. It states: "Whether one agrees or disagrees with the concerns expressed by the Second Circuit, it is ultimately for Congress and the Commission to consider these concerns. Having said that, however, those concerns can certainly be taken into account by district judges when exercising their sentencing discretion under the now advisory guidelines."

How is it that determining whether a particular Guideline (i.e. 2G2.2) produces unreasonable results only a concern for Congress and the Commission when the Circuit Court has an obligation to review for reasonableness? That Court’s abbreviated rationale is nothing short of an abdication of judicial duty.

Posted by: DEJ | Jan 13, 2011 6:36:20 PM

A bit off topic, I do beg your indulgence, however - What investigation, if any , did the "images" , etc. found in this persons possession instigate? Does anyone know...or even care? I just wondered and thought I'd seek information from this forum. Thanks.

Posted by: Tim Rudisill | Jan 14, 2011 11:04:36 AM

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