Lengthening a Sentence Because Rehabilitation is Unlikely does not Run Afoul of Tapia

Seventh Circuit Criminal Case Summaries: Sentencing - Guideline Enhancements and Adjustments - Substantive

United States v. Annoreno, 713 F.3d 352 (7th Cir. 2013). In prosecution for distribution and possession of child pornography offenses, the court of appeals affirmed all aspects of the defendant’s sentence. For purposes of sentencing, the defendant offered evidence of diminished capacity in mitigation. However, the defendant argued that the court impermissibly used that same evidence as an aggravating factor. Although the court acknowledged the mitigating aspects of this evidence, it also noted that these same traits might make the defendant less amendable to treatment and rehabilitation, which would leave him a continuing risk to children. The sentence court was entitled to consider its options and decide that treatment was unlikely given the defendant’s mental capacity and personal characteristics. The defendant also argued that the court impermissibly lengthened his sentence so he could receive rehabilitative treatment, in violation of the Supreme Court’s decision in Tapia. The court found the defendant misinterpreted the court’s reasoning, noting that the court didn’t lengthen the defendant’s sentence so he could receive treatment, but instead lengthened his sentence to incapacitate him given the likelihood that treatment would be ineffective. This was a legitimate basis to lengthen the sentence. Finally, as usual, the court rejected all of the defendant’s arguments that his sentence was substantively unreasonable.