United States v. Davis, No. 21-1283 (8th Cir. 2021)
Nature of Case: In 2019 Defendant contacted two individuals online who identified themselves as 14-year-old girls. Both individuals contacted were undercover law enforcement. After sending and requesting sexually explicit photos, defendant was arrested at a North Dakota hotel where he intended to meet the “girls” he had spoken to online. Following his arrest defendant pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota to attempted coercion or enticement of a minor. Defendant was sentenced to 120 months supervised release, including one year of home confinement, participation in sex offender treatment, and registration as a sex offender, a sentence below the applicable sentencing guideline range. The government appealed asking the court to consider the substantive reasonableness of the sentence imposed under an abuse-of-discretion standard.
Holding: The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the District Court. In so holding, the Court noted that the lower court did not overlook any relevant factors, the facts in the present case were not similar to those involving “significantly worse abuse of actual victims,” and the defendant’s sentence was not so “unreasonably lenient” as to warrant reversal.