In 1987, the United States Congress passed the first sentencing guidelines to end the sentencing disparity seen throughout the federal system. These guidelines stripped the district court of most of their discretion in sentencing federal criminal defendants. This post looks at the 2016 Sentencing Guidelines with a focus on criminal tax and child pornography cases.
The following cases highlight the threshold the prosecution must meet to justify a conviction for distribution of child pornography in cases involving the defendant’s use of a peer to peer network. The ultimate question is at what point does a person move from possession of child pornography to distribution of child pornography when using a file sharing program? This blog post examines that fine line, and the consequences for crossing it.
Over the last 25 years, Congress has been diligent in reviewing and revising the Federal Sentencing Guidelines relating to sentences following child pornography convictions. From 1987 to 2009, Congress revised the guidelines in this area nine times, and each revision resulted in longer sentences with heightened mandatory minimums. This blog post reviews the changes in the law, and the state of the law in 2015.