Sentences based on the child pornography guidelines are not necessarily unreasonably high.
“We have previously considered and rejected the argument that sentences at the statutory maximum in child-pornography cases are more often unreasonable. In United States v. Beier, 490 F.3d 572, 573 (7th Cir. 2007), the defendant was sentenced at the bottom of the guidelines range, but at the statutory maximum, after pleading guilty to production of child pornography. The defendant argued that the high imprisonment ranges for child-pornography crimes create arbitrary sentencing disparities because less serious misconduct is punished as heavily as more egregious misconduct. Id. He also reasoned that his sentence was inconsistent with the principle of marginal deterrence because it left no room to punish him more severely if he had engaged in even more serious misconduct. Id. We first noted that a defendant who engages in more serious misconduct, such as molesting a child, could be punished separately for that additional conduct. Id. at 575. We also noted that judges have discretion to give consecutive sentences to punish offenders who are charged with multiple crimes. Id. This is precisely the approach the government favored when it recommended that Maulding receive consecutive sentences to bring his sentence within the guidelines range. The district court could have sentenced Maulding to a longer term of imprisonment but instead decided that a shorter sentence was warranted on the facts of this case. The court could have imposed an even lower sentence, if, in its discretion, such a sentence was appropriate, but that is not a reason to find the administered sentence unreasonable. See United States v. Biggs, 491 F.3d 616, 624 (7th Cir. 2007); United States v. Laufle, 433 F.3d 981, 988 (7th Cir. 2006).”
09-3103 U.S. v. Maulding
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, McCuskey, J., Per Curiam