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No Military 'Get Out of Jail Free' Card for Child Porn: 8th Cir.

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By Aditi Mukherji, JD on October 03, 2013 10:01 AM

A district court permitted Scott Krantz to remain free on bond pending sentencing following his plea of guilty to transporting and possessing child pornography.

The reason? He served three tours of duty with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But can honorable military service actually serve as an "exceptional reason" to remain free pending sentencing?

District Court: Yes, Military Hero

In the absence of "exceptional reasons," a district court must order a defendant's detention pending sentencing for child pornography possession.

Following Krantz's guilty plea, the government moved for detention but Krantz sought continued release pointing to his three tours of duty with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan and his position as night nurse at his place of employment.

Surprisingly, the district court sided with Krantz and allowed Krantz to remain free pending sentencing, stating in large part that he "ought to be given that consideration [...] primarily on the fact that [he] spent three years in service overseas."

Eighth Circuit: No, Military Hero

Unlike the district court, the three-member panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals managed to distinguish between what "ought" to be and what the law states.

The panel pointed out that "exceptional reasons" are those that are "clearly out of the ordinary, uncommon or rare."

As set forth by United States v. Koon, the reason must be "sufficiently unusual to take the case out of the Guideline's heartland."

In this case, defending the Heartland was not, in fact, enough to lift the case from the Guideline's heartland.

As noble and heroic as Krantz's actions were overseas "in areas of extreme danger and peril," they had no bearing on why he should or shouldn't be detained pending sentencing on the offenses he committed following his return to the land of purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain.

Though the panel "lauded" Krantz's service and believed his multiple tours "earned him our country's gratitude," his military service nevertheless fell short of constituting an exceptional reason.

On that note, the panel reversed and remanded the case with directions that Krantz be taken into custody immediately.

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