U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Juvenile Defendant — Five-Year Minimum Sentence
United States v. Reingold
Judges Sack, Raggi and Lohier
Background: The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of distributing child pornography. The United States appealed from his conviction sentencing him to 30 months imprisonment. The government argued that the court erred in refusing to impose the minimum five-year prison term on the grounds that to apply such a punishment to this immature 19-year-old defendant would violate the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause.
Ruling: The Second Circuit remanded for resentencing. The court found that the district court erred in using a categorical rule analysis to the mandatory five-year sentence at issue as the Supreme Court has never signaled that such a sentence requires a categorical analysis to ensure constitutional proportionality. Also, the district court used an unpersuasive “consensus” against five-year prison terms for juveniles convicted of child pornography crimes. Finally, the five-year minimum is disproportionate given the gravity of the crime.
Ali Kazemi, assistant United States attorney, for the appellant; Colleen P. Cassidy of the Federal Defenders of New York for the defendant-appellee