NEW YORK CITY—By pretty much all accounts, Corey Reingold is not a good person. Not only did he, as "Boysuck0416," host at least ten child porn videos on the invitation-only file-sharing site GigaTribe, but when the feds raided his home, it found multiple child porn images on the computers Reingold used to access the internet.
"Reingold, who was present at the time of the search, admitted that he was 'Boysuck0416'; that he had opened a GigaTribe account in November 2008 and used it and another file sharing program, LimeWire, to download 'a ton' of child pornography onto the seized computers; and that he had shared child pornography files in designated folders with between 10 and 20 other GigaTribe users," Justice Reena Raggi of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals stated in her opinion, issued yesterday.
Not only that, but when the feds agreed that Reingold could be allowed to plead to simple possession of child porn if he could pass a polygraph test on whether he had ever engaged in child molestation, he admitted that he had engaged his half-sister in sexual activities on three occasions over a course of three years, beginning when she was just eight years old.
"Specifically, Reingold stated that (1) when he was 15 and his sister eight, he had the child manually stimulate his penis; (2) when Reingold was 16 and his sister nine, he again had the girl manually stimulate his penis while he rubbed his hand over her vagina through her underwear; and (3) when Reingold was 18 and his sister 11, he had the girl manually stimulate his penis while he rubbed her vagina both over and beneath her underwear," the opinion summarized. "Reingold subsequently admitted that during this third sexual encounter, he also coached the child to perform oral sex on him and, in turn, performed oral sex on her."
Maybe saying he's not a good guy is something on an understatement... which makes what happened next all the more chilling and perplexing.
Reingold was brought before federal magistrate judge on September 16, 2009, and though he had been charged with four counts of distributing child porn, he was allowed to plead guilty to just one distribution count—and that's when things got weird.
Rather than sentencing Reingold on the single count, U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein, to whom Reingold had been sent for sentencing, spent the next two years calling a dozen expert witnesses in specialties like child sexual abuse; online child pornography; risk assessment; treatment of sex offenders; and neuropsychology and adolescent brain development to testify in his court, and he even traveled to Massachusetts and toured a prison, FMC Devens, which offers sex offender treatment to its inmates.
Finally, on the date upon which Reingold was to be sentenced, Weinstein decided not to accept Reingold's guilty plea—though both the prosecution and the defense had urged him to do so—and raised the question of whether the fact than an undercover cop had received the kiddie porn from Reingold via the file-share folders on GigaTribe was really enough to make Reingold guilty of distribution under 18 U.S.C. §2252(a)(2).
Weinstein took another six days to consider that question, and on May 16, 2011, even though Weinstein himself agreed that the applicable sentencing guideline for Reingold's offense was 63 to 78 months' imprisonment, actually sentenced the young adult to just 30 months in FMC Dever, arguing that the guidelines' recommendation "was greater than necessary to achieve the objectives of [sentencing factors to be considered in] 18 U.S.C. §3553(a)."
Needless to say, prosecutors were outraged, and promptly appealed the sentence to the Second Circuit, which yesterday remanded the case to Weinstein for resentencing in line with the guidelines. This was the second time the Second Circuit has reversed one of Weinstein's sentences. In 2011, he'd sentenced Peter Polizzi, a Brooklyn pizza maker, to just one year in prison for possession of child porn—a sentence which the Second Circuit also ruled was far too lenient, and had Weinstein resentence Polizzi to a full five-year term.
But even that's not all. Just hours after the Second Circuit issued its opinion, Weinstein himself filed a response to the opinion, claiming that the effect of the increased sentence would be "to destroy young lives [like Reingold's] unnecessarily."
"The ancient analog of our modern destruction of youngsters by cruel, unnecessarily destructive and self-defeating, long minimum prison sentences, was physically sacrificing them to ancient gods for the supposed benefit of society," Weinstein wrote, proceeding to quote Leviticus 18:21, which "warns, '[T]hou shalt not let any of thy [children] pass through the fire to Molech.' ... Yet we continue using the criminal law to unnecessarily crush the lives of our young."
Claiming that Reingold "never produced, sold or deliberately exchanged pornography," and that "[c]redible evidence and expert testimony established that there was no threat of his producing child pornography, viewing it in the future, or acting out in a physical way against any child or other person," Weinstein went on to charge that "the chance for a successful normal life for the defendant will be substantially reduced by the required new sentence."
Weinstein spent most of the nine pages of his response quoting child porn experts as well as attorneys and others who had written about dangers of following the federal sentencing guidelines, and who said that there was "empirical data supporting contention that the Guidelines are too harsh."
"Needlessly destructive sentencing should not be countenanced in a sound system of law," he concluded. "Statutes should not embrace such punishments even if the Constitution does not prohibit them."
There's only one real question left to ask: Why is this guy still presiding over any cases, much less ones involving kiddie-porn-distributing child molesters?
The opinion of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals can be found here.
The response by Judge Jack B. Weinstein can be found here.
Pictured: Judge Jack B. Weinstein.