In the state of New York, anyone caught engaging in sexual coercion of a minor is subject to serious prison time. Sexual coercion of a minor entails an individual who attempts to or actually persuades anyone under the age of 18 into participating in any sexual activity. Coercion can entail humiliation, threats, anger, tricks, pressure or force.
United States v. Cohen
Criminal attorney Ed Sapone represented defendant Cohen in United States v. Cohen.
The defendant was initially indicted for using Skype to contact and coerce a minor into performing a sexual act. He was also charged with possession of child pornography and other related offenses. The defendant had counsel, Steven Brill, Esq., retain Mr. Sapone to co-counsel in an appeal.
Mr. Cohen was to work on the prosecution’s refusal to drop the charges. The defendant was looking at a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence. This included guidelines of 360 months to life in prison.
The prosecution’s intent
These were harsh conditions, and the prosecutors, unfortunately for the defense, were in their right. State laws in these matters are to protect minors and impose significant punishment on violators. The defense was facing a sound strategy.
The defense strategy
Together, Messrs. Sapone and Brill took their appeal to a committee of assistant U.S. Attorneys. These were supervisory-level prosecutors. The defense walked out with a reduction in charges. The defendant was now facing charges carrying a 10-year minimum sentence and guidelines of 210–262 months in prison.
The defendant would receive a 5K1 letter. The U.S. Probation Department asked for a recommendation of 210 months. The request was on the low end of the guidelines.
The defendant eventually got a downward variance, going from 210–262 months to 84 months. The defendant is likely to serve 12–15 months before his release.
Thankfully, the defendant compiled a strong legal team that used the law in the defendant’s best interests.