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Child Pornography Sentence Vacated

Posted On: August 7, 2012 by Marc Neff

In United States v. Inman, 666 F.3d 1001; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 1394, The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit vacated the sentence of defendant Brandon Inman, a federal prisoner who pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. Inman appealed from The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky’s judgment imposing lifetime supervised release and certain conditions of that supervised release. The appellate court held that because the district court did not articulate a rationale for the length of supervised release and some of the conditions it imposed, Inman’s case had to be remanded for re-sentencing.

Inman pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B). Inman admitted possession of a computer thumb drive that he knew contained many images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. At the sentencing hearing, the district court considered all of the sentencing factors enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) before imposing a term of incarceration of fifty-seven months. Although both parties requested a ten-year term of supervised release, the court imposed a lifetime term of supervised release with standard and special conditions. The special conditions included orders that barred the defendant from consuming alcohol for life, required him to submit to periodic drug testing, and required him to keep the probation office informed of any prescription medications in his possession. The district court also precluded him from using any device capable of creating pictures or video.

The circuit court questioned the reasons for these restrictions, stating that nothing in the record suggested defendant Inman had any problem with alcohol or drug dependence. The court also held that because the underlying conviction involved receiving child pornography through the Internet, the restriction on any device capable of creating pictures or video was not clearly justified, noting that, “This special condition effectively prohibits Inman for his lifetime from possessing a cell phone with photo or video capability, a video camera, or any other device capable of creating pictures or videos, even if such devices might be used appropriately in connection with employment or family activities.”

Because the record did not demonstrate that the district court considered any of the pertinent 18 U.S.C.S. § 3553(a) factors when it imposed the term of supervised release, and the district court did not explain why it chose certain special conditions, the judgment imposing supervised release with conditions was vacated and the case was remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.

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Posted in: Internet Crime