Monday, March 07, 2011

U.S. vs. Williams, No. 10-30084 (3-7-11) (O'Scannlain with Beezer and Paez). Convicted of receipt of child pornography, and sentenced to 15 years, the defendant appealed his life term of supervised release, arguing that it constituted "cruel and unusual punishment." The 9th had little trouble, under these facts, of affirming the SR term. It explained that there were two ways to challenge a sentence under the Eighth Amendment. One way was to look at the grossly disproportionate sentence for this case under these facts; the second is to look at a class of cases and find that the punishment of that class is disproportionate. Here, dealing with the defendant, who had a prior conviction of sexual assault, and who admitted to certain troubling fantasies, the 9th held that the term as applied to this case was not violative of the Eighth Amendment, nor was the term as applied to sex offenders disproportionate. It was a tough challenge to make.


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