Second Circuit Vacates Child Pornography Sentence as Substantively Unreasonable and Provides a Road Map for Financial Fraud Defendants

May 3, 2017

For the third time in the past year, the Second Circuit in United States v. Jenkins, No. 14-4295 (Kearse, Jacobs, Parker), has vacated as substantively unreasonable a sentence imposed under the sentencing guideline for child pornography offenses, U.S.S.G. §2G2.2. See United States v. Sawyer, 15-2276 (2016); United States v. Bennett, 15-0024 (2016); see also United States v. Brown, No. 13-1706 (2016) (vacating sentence but subsequently withdrawing opinion and affirming in a 2-1 decision). The divided nature of the panel's decision reflects the complicated nature of post-Booker sentencing, as courts even more than a decade later continue to try to balance the competing goals of due regard for the Guidelines and case-specific fairness under Section 3553(a). Although Jenkins relates directly to the child pornography guideline, the decision has general relevance to any federal sentencing and is particularly relevant to sentencing conducted under the loss amount guideline in U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1.

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