DALLAS CRIMINAL LAWYERS.: FEDERAL, STATE & APPEALS - BRODEN & MICKELSEN LLP

Man Convicted In Child Porn Case Could Have New Sentence Reduction

By Richard Burgess, The Lafayette Daily Advertiser, January 17, 2004

LAFAYETTE – A man convicted of taking pornographic pictures of boys in a Church Point scout troop could have his prison sentence cut for the second time after a successful appeal this week.

Robert Randall Reinhart’s sentence on federal pornography charges was first cut from 19 1/2 years to 17 1/2 years after his first successful appeal in 2001.

He now faces a reduction of at least five years when re-sentenced, according to Reinhart’s attorney, Clinton Broden.

No new sentencing date has been set.

Reinhart and Matthew Carroll, the former scoutmaster of the Church Point troop, pleaded guilty in 1997 to charges of persuading children to engage in sexual conduct to produce pornography.

Investigators found about 1,800 images of child pornography on a computer at the mobile home that Reinhart and Carroll shared in Scott, including images of several boys in Carroll’s scout troop.

Reinhart and Carroll’s original sentences, handed down in 1998, were reduced in 2001 after a panel of 5th Circuit judges found that one of the images used to calculate their prison terms was of a minor’s head superimposed on the body of a person who is not known to authorities.

The appeals court judges ruled that the picture could not be used for sentencing because it was unclear whether a minor was forced to engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the picture.

Reinhart’s second appeal focused on a video of Carroll having sex with the two teenage boys.

Reinhart possessed the video. But Broden argued in December before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that federal Judge Richard Haik should not have used the video in determining Reinhart’s sentence because he played no role in making the video.

In a ruling handed down Wednesday, a panel of appeals court judges agreed, vacating Reinhart’s sentence.

“It’s just disappointing. I still feel confident judge Haik will give them the maximum amount he can,” said attorney Katherine Hurst, who represented two of the victims in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America.

Haik will be restricted by federal sentencing guidelines – formulas that aim to quantify criminal conduct. In this case, it means Reinhart’s sentence can rise and fall based on how much pornography can be linked to a defendant.

Broden said that under the new guidelines, Reinhart faces a sentence ranging from 10 years and 1 month to 12 years and 7 months in prison.

The attorney said he suspects Haik will hand down the maximum allowable sentence, as he has in the other two times Reinhart has been before him.