Sentencing for Subway Spokesman's Child Pornography Charges Affirmed
As has been widely reported in news media throughout the country this past year, Jared Fogle, the well-recognized spokesman for Subway sandwiches, was arrested and indicted on child pornography charges. Fogle had previously gained notoriety for his Subway diet, which allegedly helped him to lose a significant amount of weight and led to his frequent appearances on Subway radio and television advertisements. Fogle’s criminal indictment caught many by surprise, yet his name quickly disappeared from the media. Recently, however, Fogle’s charges and conviction were reviewed by the Seventh Circuit as Fogle sought to appeal various aspects of the trial court proceedings.
In 2015, Fogle’s close friend Russell Taylor was put under surveillance by federal law enforcement after they received a tip that he was soliciting sex from minors. During the process of investigating Taylor, Fogle quickly became a second subject of concern after it was discovered that he knew about the child pornography that Taylor possessed and had met many of the child victims whom Taylor solicited. Upon the execution of a warrant to search Fogle’s home, the police discovered that Fogle had his own child pornography collection and that he had actively solicited sex from minors as well. Fogle was arrested and charged with various criminal counts, including distributing and receiving child pornography, conspiracy to distribute and receive child pornography, and attempting to engage in sexual conduct with a minor. Fogle pled guilty in exchange for the government agreeing not to recommend more than 151 months in prison time. At sentencing, Fogle requested 60 months, and the government recommended 151 months. The judge, however, chose to go above the recommended sentencing guidelines for Fogle’s crimes and sentenced him to 188 months for each count, with each sentence to be served concurrently. Fogle appealed.
On appeal, Fogle made several procedural and substantive arguments. The crux of his substantive argument focused on the fact that the judge had departed from the sentencing guidelines in order to sentence him to a lengthier period of time in jail. While judges may impose sentences that exceed the guidelines, they are required to provide an explanation justifying their decision. The justification must be proportional to the magnitude of the change being suggested and must be sufficiently detailed to allow for adequate review. Fogel argued that the trial judge’s explanation was inadequate for the above-guidelines sentence that was imposed. Fogel argued that his stable upbringing and celebrity status mitigated against a longer sentence, not in support of it.
The Seventh Circuit, however, rejected his arguments. It noted that his upbringing had little bearing on his situation, and his spokesman status could be seen as both a mitigating and an aggravating factor. More importantly, the Seventh Circuit decided that the trial court had adequately supported its sentencing decision with an explanation that referenced Fogle’s complicity in Taylor’s collection and solicitation of child pornography, and his repeated efforts to solicit minors on his own. Accordingly, the Seventh Circuit upheld the trial court’s sentence.
If you have been accused of distributing child pornography or the solicitation of a minor in Wisconsin, or you need assistance with an appeal of your sentencing for child pornography charges, you should speak with an experienced Milwaukee child pornography lawyer as soon as possible. To find out more about your options for contesting your sentence, do not hesitate to contact the law offices of Reddin & Singer, LLP online or give us a call at (414) 271-6400.