A few weeks ago, US District Judge Gregory Presnell asked whether I had any detailed or circuit-specific data regarding federal sentences for child porn offenses. I responded that the US Sentencing Commission would be the place to get such data, and Judge Presnell inquired of the Commission. And now I am happy to report that Judge Presnell has provided me with the information that was provided to him, and he has even written up this helpful summary of what the Commission data shows:
Pursuant to my request, the USSC sent me data related to sentences imposed under U.S.S.G. 2G2.2 for the fiscal years 2007-2009. That data is presented in the attached tables.
Nationwide, from 2007 to 2009, the number of sentences imposed under this guideline almost doubled, from 853 to 1,546, and the percentage of below-guideline sentences increased from 30.8% to 51.6%. Similarly, the average percentage reduction increased from 36.3% in 2007 to 40.3% in 2009. Thus, during the last fiscal year more than half of all child porn sentences were below the minimum guideline sentence, and the average reduction was approximately 40%.
Excluding the First Circuit and DC Circuit (whose case loads are too small to draw meaningful data), the percentage of sentences below the guideline range from a high of 65% in the Third Circuit to a low of 30% in the Fifth Circuit. The average percentage reduction is highest in the Second Circuit at 47% and the lowest is the Seventh Circuit at 30%. Overall, there is not great disparity among the Circuits.
Compared with the Circuit Court data, the Middle District of Florida had a high percentage of below-guideline sentences -- 70.6%, but the average percentage reduction was 38.8%, near the national average in fiscal year 2009. During that same period, the Eleventh Circuit was right at the national average with 51.4% of sentences below the guideline and an average reduction of 39%.
I suspect that any and everyone dealing with the always challenging issues surrounding the sentencing of child pornography offenses will be interested in the data that can be found in the charts available for downloading here: Download Circuit data on USSG 2G2.2 with tables.