United States v. Bridgewater, No. 19-2522 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Bridgewater pleaded guilty to soliciting an obscene visual depiction of a minor, 18 U.S.C. 2252A(a)(3)(B)(i). The Guidelines called for a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 months in prison. The district court deviated from the Guidelines to 78 months to account for a charge of attempted enticement of a minor that the government dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea. That conduct, the court found, aggravated the nature and circumstances of the offense of conviction. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that the sentence was substantively unreasonable because basing it—even in part—on dismissed conduct creates systemwide disparity. The court addressed unwarranted sentencing disparities and the lack of evidence of his recidivism and gave ample weight to the Guidelines but ultimately concluded they failed to properly reflect the scope of Bridgewater’s conduct. The court’s 18-month (or 30%) deviation did not introduce unwarranted sentence disparities among similar defendants.