A federal appeals court ruled today that a 20-year sentence meted out to a Bradford man convicted of using a cell phone and the Internet to persuade a minor to have sex was not sufficiently considered.
The decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sets a precedent, comes in the case of Michael Eugene Begin. He was 33 in 2010 he falsely claimed on line that he was a 20-year-old Marine sniper and used social networking websites to communicate with a 14-year-old girl and texted her sexual photographs.
After the girl's mother reported the communication to the FBI, an agent took the place of the girl and agreed to meet Begin at a restaurant. He was arrested after he showed up with a knife, handcuffs and a condom, according to the appeals court decision.
With a prior record of corruption of minors, Begin faced 14 to 17 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors, though, sought a 30-year sentence. U.S. District Judge Maurice B. Cohill set a 20-year sentence.
Begin's attorney argued that such a sentence would be too different from other federal sentences for similar crimes, but the court did not sufficiently consider that possibility, the appeals judges found. So the case will be remanded back to the local level for resentencing.
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Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1542.