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May 15, 2012

Sixth Circuit panel produces pair of notable opinions in CP sentencing reversal

Judicial administration fans, as well as sentencing fans, will want to find time to check out today's Sixth Circuit panel decision in US v. Aleo, No. 10-1569 (6th Cir. May 15, 2012) (available here). The start of the majority opinion highlights what the opinion covers and what it is notable:

In this case, we deal with two appeals arising out of the criminal conviction and sentencing of Craig Aleo. Craig Aleo appeals his sentence (Part I), and his trial attorney, John Freeman, appeals the sanction imposed upon him by the district court (Part II).

Craig Aleo was sentenced to the statutory maximum sentence of 720 months of imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to one count each of producing, possessing, and transporting and shipping child pornography. His guidelines range was 235–293 months. Because we cannot find a justification within the factors enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) to justify the variance imposed by the district court, we reverse and remand for resentencing.

Craig Aleo’s trial counsel, John Freeman, was sanctioned $2,000, based on the district court’s inherent power to sanction, because he filed a motion asking the court to compel the government to make a formal motion regarding any victim who wanted to speak at trial pursuant to the Crime Victim Rights Act (CVRA), naming the victim, and providing a preview of the victim’s statement.  Because there is no objective evidence that trial counsel filed this motion in bad faith, we reverse.

And the start of Judge Sutton's concurring opinion highlights why judicial administration aficianados ought also find Aleo of interest:

I join the court’s decision in full, including its conclusion that the district court abused its discretion when it invoked its inherent power to impose sanctions on defense attorney John Freeman for filing a frivolous motion.  I write separately to express skepticism about a lower federal court’s power ever to use inherent authority, as opposed to the contempt power established by statute (18 U.S.C. § 401) and implemented by rule (Fed. R. Crim. P. 42), to punish a defense attorney in a criminal case for filing a frivolous motion.

May 15, 2012 at 03:30 PM | Permalink


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In a just world, this sick bastard would have gotten the death penalty. He made kiddie porn.

As for the attorney, I think the District Judge was well within his rights to divine the motivation of the defense counsel.

Posted by: federalist | May 15, 2012 3:47:13 PM

well in this case your wrong on both counts and the appeals court concurs, try again

Posted by: Gary | May 15, 2012 5:35:09 PM

while it is clear that the guidelines range sentences for these crimes were grossly inadequate in that a defendant who actually created child porn where he molested a 5 year old child will be barely more than a defendant who merely possessed and transported child porn, in this case, realistically the guidelines range sentence is adequate. quite simply this icky perv is 66 years old and in poor health - even the mandatory minimum sentence is effectively a life sentence. 720 months or 60 years is basically overkill when the government only asked for a 300 month sentence. the 300 month sentence would be perfectly reasonable as an effective life sentence but allow room for higher sentences for worse icky pervs.

of course, had the defendant been 26 rather than 66, the 60 year sentence would be right - the presumptive sentences in cases where icky pervs molest children to create child pornography should be an effective life sentence.

erika :)

Posted by: Erika | May 15, 2012 6:26:40 PM

why do we waste so much time and money on such a pervert as Aleo, sentence him to life and get it over with. A waste of tax payers money

I am a retired Detective Captain who has worked on cases like this and actually developed the first case of down loading child porn in New York State.

Posted by: Dave Bentley | Sep 18, 2013 9:03:24 AM

I work with or for...hell had lunch with the guy ...and although most all i have lots to say at WLCS....but Craig was something...different, i am ashamed , very ashamed to say I had 0% clue or idea what he was..matter of fact, he was smooth..what i mean was a "people person", very easy to get along with...again I AM NOT saying he is that....i am say how he presented himself...and i gag when i say "charming" to a certain degree ....so what i took from this chunck of my life is ....anyone can act anyway they want ....to get to really know a person....takes you viewing their actions...over time....no shortcut....I will never make this mistake with another ....i hear he appealed? because his court verdict was too harsh or something....great....for all i know he is out now having an ice creame enjoying all the sights ....life is ....just ..i was about to say funny...but this story is just too sick to say that.

Posted by: wrkATwlcs | Feb 28, 2015 9:25:53 PM

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