U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Jared Fogle's Pitch for Mercy Fails at the 7th Circuit

Last month Jared Fogle attempted to convince the court that his 188-month sentence had been unjustifiably enhanced and should be reduced. The case made headlines in particular because of the controversial theory his lawyer pushed: fantasizing about having sex with minors is not a crime.

Now, the Seventh Circuit has affirmed the district court's ruling, effectively closing the door to further calls for mercy unless an appeal to SCOTUS is made.

Fogel's Facts Accelerated

Everyone should be familiar by now with disgraced Subway pitchman's humiliating legal troubles. He pled guilty to a number of charges in August of 2015 when it was revealed that months earlier his friend was sending him child pornography, and that Fogle had actually sought the help of adult prostitutes to procure minors for sex.

Fogle plea bargained with the government prosecutor for a deal of 155 months, but the federal district court sentenced Fogle to 188 months. This number was based on the advisory guidelines that called for between 135 to 165 months.

Production Versus Receipt

Fogle appealed the length of his sentence and argued that it was invalid for a number of reasons. He argued that he was being punished unfairly for production of child pornography, rather than simply receipt. Not so, the Seventh Circuit said. "Fogle's base offense level would have been much higher had the district court treated him as a producer, and would have resulted in a greater sentence than that actually imposed."

Re "Fantasies"

The more controversial argument came next: that he was being punished in the manner of "thought police," and that sentence enhancement based on fantasies cannot be valid. But the circuit again sided with the district court and found that proper consideration was given to the "the perverse nature and circumstances of the offenses."

Totality

All in all, the circuit was more than willing to accept the sentencing rulings of the lower court. And it would be surprising if it didn't. Considering the charged subject matter of this case, a reversal in favor of Fogle would be as likely as a unicorn showing up in court. No abuse of discretion was found here.

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