Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fourth Circuit strikes down sentencing provision of child porn statute

Congress enacted 18 U.S.C. 3553(b)(2) as part of the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003 ("PROTECT Act"). The PROTECT Act included certain mandatory sentencing provisions applicable to child and sexual offenses, including possession of child pornography. Those mandatory sentencing provisions are codified at 18 U.S.C. 3553(b)(2). In United States v. Hecht, the Fourth Circuit held that section 3553(b)(2) violates the rationale of Booker in the same way that section 3553(b)(1) violated the Sixth Amendment in Booker and that the section must be replaced with an advisory guidelines regime under which sentences are reviewed for reasonableness. The sentence was vacated and the Court remanded for resentencing

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