Child PornographyIn The NewsSentencing CommissionState Circuit Courts

Federal Sentencing Guidelines “off the mark” says Judge

On June 29 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals/Sixth Circuit Court of Cleveland , Ohio affirmed the 5 year prison sentence that District Judge James Gwin had handed down to 32 year old Ryan P. Collins for receiving and distributing and possessing child pornography. Mr. Collins was found to have 19 videos and 93 CP images on his computer. Investigators were able to download CP from Mr. Collins’ computer thru peer-to-peer software.

At his initial sentencing, Mr. Collins was facing a federal sentencing guideline range of anywhere from 262-327 months/21-27 years.  This time frame was also recommended by the U.S. Department of Probation and Pretrial Services.

The  government’s request for an appeal was rooted in their objection to the variance in downward departure, challenging the judge’s use of a jury poll and what they considered his failure to fully consider deterrence as a factor.

Judge Gwin, in his infinite wisdom, had the foresight to poll the jury on this case to get their take on a sentence “appropriate to fit the crime.” The jurors recommended 0-60 months with the mean average being 14.5 months and the median 8 months. These recommendations were unanimous except for one juror.

Judge Gwin made the decision to hand down a 5 year sentence, well below the federal sentencing guidelines. He remarked that ” the jury poll was but one factor in his sentencing decision, but that it reflects just how off the mark the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are.”

I for one am delighted to see a Judge who had the common sense to ask the people of Ohio “what do you think is an appropriate sentence for this crime?” Apparently, except for one, the jurors found that an average sentence of 14.5 months would be enough punishment, enough of a deterrent to keep Mr. Collins from repeating his crime.

Now if only the U.S. Sentencing Commission would “listen” to the American public the way Judge Guy listened to the people of Ohio, maybe we could make some headway in changing the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *