Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On mandatory minimum sentencing

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals last week upheld the decision of its Northern District of Ohio in Toledo in sentencing a man to 5 years imprisonment, 10 years of supervised release, and a waiver of associated fines, the mandatory minimum sentence. (See USA v. Joshua Jamerson,  12-3803 on  9/16/2013 from Northern District of Ohio at Toledo)

   In trying Joshua Jamerson, the district court had determined an advisory guideline imprisonment range of 108 to 135 months, with at least 5 years of supervised release, and a fine range of $15,000 to $150,000, based on a total offense level of 30 and criminal history category II for the defendant who had plead guilty to knowingly receiving visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct via computer over a period of several months, violating of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1), and subsequently undergoing pre-sentence psychiatric evaluation being diagnosed with several mental health issues, including schizophrenia, depression, paranoia and psychopathic deviation.

   “The district court judge departed downward from the sentencing guideline range of 108 to 135 months to the 60-month mandatory minimum required under § 2252(a)(2) and (b) due to Jamerson’s mental capacity. Although the district judge noted he was bound by the 60-month mandatory minimum under the statute, the judge expressed an opinion that if he were able to go below the mandatory minimum, he would do so.

   Jamerson had argued in his appeal that “ the district court below was ‘hamstrung’ in imposing a sentence it did not support and had sentenced him to the mandatory minimum which the district court ‘blatantly dispute[s] the wisdom of,’” to which the Sixth Circuit responded “that when a court disagrees with a mandatory minimum, the minimum prevails and the district court’s desire to sentence below the minimum does not render a statutory mandatory minimum sentence unreasonable. United States v. Cecil, 615 F.3d 678, 695 (6th Cir. 2010).”

   The Ohio Supreme Court’s new service, meanwhile, made note of  Judge Robert Holmes Bell’s, chair of the U.S. Judicial Conference Criminal Law Committee, writing in support of Congress’s efforts “to review and ameliorate the deleterious and unwanted consequences spawned by mandatory minimum sentencing provisions,” maintaining its long-standing policy of opposing mandatory minimum sentences.

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