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Defense attorneys protest heavy sexting sentence

A federal jury convicted a 26-year-old man of convincing a teen girl to send him nude photographs, resulting in a 27-year prison sentence that was handed down in August. The man will be held in federal prison for 320 months because of his repeated convictions for sex crimes, according to the judge in the case.

Not only will the man serve the prison term, but he will also be subject to 10 years of supervision after his release from incarceration. The man will also be prohibited from owning a cellular phone, according to legal documents.

Attorneys for the man say that the stiff sentencing guidelines amount to cruel and unusual punishment, which is prohibited by the American Constitution. The man was convicted of his most recent sex crime on the basis of a single picture of a young girl's genital region. That isolated incident should not warrant such strict criminal sanctions. Although the man had been convicted of previous sex crimes, he should be protected from such overzealous prosecution, said the man's legal representatives.

Furthermore, the attorney said the 14-year-old who sent the nude picture should have known better than to send the image to an older man. Still, the judge said that a standard does not exist to take into account the blame that the victim should shoulder in such a case. Legal representatives protested that the man was being sentenced as though he was producing and distributing child pornography, when he had simply received the single picture message.

The man had previously served time in prison for his alleged indecent activities with a 13-year-old girl. Information from that 2004 court case was brought to light during the man's most recent trial, according to prosecutors.

The judge in the case said that the sentencing guidelines were fair for a repeat offender. It is not clear whether the defense team intends to appeal the case, but that would not be an unforeseen option, considering the determined opposition posed by the man's lawyers.

Source: KansasCity.com, "Kansas man gets nearly 27 years in 'sexting' case," Roxana Hegeman, Aug. 24, 2012

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