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Attempted Enticement of a Minor-Sentencing

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//July 8, 2024//

Attempted Enticement of a Minor-Sentencing

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//July 8, 2024//

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Robert Townsend

Case No.: 23-2875

Officials: Easterbrook, Brennan, and Jackson-Akiwumi, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Attempted Enticement of a Minor-Sentencing

Townsend was convicted of attempted enticement of a minor under 18 U.S.C. §2422(b) and received a sentence of 10 years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release. Townsend contested the district judge’s decision to consider the seriousness of his crime when determining the length of his supervised release.

The district court had indeed taken into account the gravity of Townsend’s offense in setting the duration of his supervised release. Townsend argued this was incorrect, citing United States v. Wilcher, a Seventh Circuit case stating that supervised release duration cannot be based solely on the offense’s severity. Townsend sought to extend this precedent, arguing that the seriousness of an offense should play no role in supervised release length.

The Seventh Circuit disagreed with Townsend’s interpretation of Wilcher. The court clarified that while severity alone cannot dictate supervised release duration, it remains a valid factor among others. Factors such as offense nature, deterrence needs, and public protection are linked to offense severity. The district judge had duly considered these aspects, highlighting Townsend’s public threat and the specifics of his crime.

Consequently, the court found no error in the district judge’s consideration of the offense’s seriousness as part of determining Townsend’s supervised release length. Affirming the district court’s decision, the Seventh Circuit upheld Townsend’s sentence of 10 years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release.

Affirmed.

Decided 07/02/24

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