It is not easy for the federal government to keep up with the increased number of creation, distribution and owning of child pornography. Although such offenses has harsh penalties for those convicted offenders, have been on the rise in the past years. These cases have mandatory minimum sentences, but over the years the sentences have been lengthened by the United States Congress.
When this is happening, the United States Sentencing Commission should follow the increased advisory of federal sentencing guidelines for the crimes. These agencies work together, and this has led the child pornography sentences to increase by 500% for the last fifteen years. For example, sentences for those committing the offence for the first time can now be decades in prison although those convicted may never have been abusive to children previously with others having a little chance. The child pornography guidelines are on the basis of particular factors as well as situations. These situations and specific factors may not be a reflection of the severity and intent of the offence.
The child pornography guidelines were adopted originally in 1991 as a political measure. The United States Sentencing Commission assigned child pornography possession level 10. The level 10 sentence has six to 12 months in prison. But the United States Sentencing said that it was instructed by the Congress to raise the sentence to level 13, but they had not consulted them on the matter. Level thirteen means you could spend twelve to eighteen months in prison. Later the Congress instructed the commission to raise the level further to eighteen which means possible eighteen to twenty-four months in prison if found having committed such offense. In 2004, the Congress continued to raise the offense level without consulting the United States Sentencing Commission to get expert advice. The level went to eighteen, and this means possible 27 to 33 months behind bars. So the current possible sentence for child pornography is 27 to 33 months even if you have not been involved in child pornography before.
Levels and guidelines
When the child pornography guidelines are in place, it is the starting point of convicting the offenders. After the determination of the basic levels, other factors may affect the final sentence. These factors are added to fines given to those convicted. Congress provided these sentencing factors to the United States Sentencing Commission without the knowledge of the expert at the commission. An individual who is convicted for the first time can now accrue a level of 27 with the added criteria. Level 27 can mean sentencing of 70 to 87 months if you are convicted. The increasing level from 10 to the current level was because of a political agenda, and it was based on the directives of Congress. They did not use any data from the United States Sentencing Commission.
How it affects individuals
The offences of dealing with child pornography and crime are a serious one, and many people believe that such sentences are okay and they should remain in place. But when one happens to be the offender, the family members and friends of the person do not feel that these guidelines are the right ones. They remain in hope for justice to prevail. They hold a view that the guidelines used for sentencing their loved one should be the same as those of other cases. They want them to be based on the examination by experts and not on the basis of any political agenda. The start feeling that their loved one has been treated unfairly without any proper research and the right amount of time. But in most cases, courts are influenced by persons who feel that these crimes deserve such punishments because there is c child involved.
Research is needed
To ensure that every individual involved in any crime receives a fair trial it is crucial to carry out the necessary study and follow particular procedures. Some of the things that should apply include statistics of those who have committed the offence, guidelines which were used in sentencing the previous cases, the intention of the crime and information about the severity of the offence. Such information may help the offender to get a fair sentence. Hiring an experienced attorney can enable you to get a fair sentence because they have the knowledge about the sentencing of these cases.
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