An Oregon federal judge who ruled federal sentencing guidelines unconstitutional set them aside this week when sentencing a man convicted of driving into Portland to meet a minor for sex. U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner sentenced Richard Detwiler, 62, to 18 months in prison for traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Under the guidelines, the crime calls for a sentence between 33 and 41 months. Panner said last month that he would consider the sentencing guidelines advisory, “not binding mandates.” The U.S. Supreme Court now is considering their constitutionality.
Panner said he believed Detwiler, who has no criminal record, would not commit a similar crime again, and that the punishment the man has experienced in the form of public humiliation has been severe. Panner said Detwiler’s case is unique and is an example of why federal judges don’t like federal sentencing rules. “I do not believe it is appropriate to sentence him to a range of 33 to 41 months,” Panner said, disregarding the existing sentencing rules.