Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ohio court finds 40 year sentence for CP charges "difficult ... to justify"

The Ohio Court of Appeals has reversed a sentence of 40 years for four counts of child pornography possession because the court found "it difficult on this record to justify 40 consecutive years in prison for the nonviolent crime of possessing child pornography." Ohio v. Bonness, 2012 Ohio 474 (Ohio Ct. App. 2012).

The defendant was a 53-year-old retired police officer. He pled guilty to attempted rape, eight counts of child pornography, and other charges. He was sentenced to 8 years for the attempted rape charge and consecutive 5 year terms for each of the child pornography counts. He appealed the sentence arguing that the terms should not have been consecutive, and the appellate court reversed.

Among its reasoning, the court noted that the sentence would be a "de facto life sentence" and would "place an undue burden on the state's resources as the prison system would be forced to pay for all of Bonness's medical care." The court also noted that other countries provide far less severe sentences for child pornography offenses, citing a Canadian case where the government only sought five to seven years for possession of 4.5 million images.


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