June 25, 2019

Tenth Circuit: Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Distribution of Child Pornography Affirmed; Remainder Dismissed for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in United States v. Ramos on August 27, 2012.

Mr. Ramos plead guilty to “knowingly and intentionally receiv[ing] . . . [child pornography]” in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2). The Court sentenced Mr. Ramos to eighty-seven months in prison in accordance with § 2G2.2(b)(3)(B), sentencing Guidelines that mandated a 5-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.  Mr. Ramos appealed.

On appeal, Mr. Ramos raised two issues. First, he contended that there was an insufficient basis for the district court to conclude that he “distributed” child pornography under § 2G2.2(b). Second, he argued that the mandatory-minimum sentence applied to his case violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment.

The Tenth Circuit dismissed Mr. Ramos’ first argument as unpersuasive, holding that the district court properly ruled Mr. Ramos’ behavior constituted “distribution” of child pornography.  The Tenth Circuit dismissed the remainder of his appeal involving his constitutional challenges for lack of standing and therefore subject matter jurisdiction.



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