The Minnesota Court of Appeals ordered a new sentencing for a former Minneapolis police officer who was accused of using social media to "groom" girls for future sexual encounters.
In May 2014, Schnickel was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to five of the 20 felony counts he was charged with, including: criminal sexual conduct, attempted criminal sexual conduct and engaging in electronic communication relating or describing sexual conduct with a child.
That was a significant downward departure from state sentencing guidelines, which call for nearly 12 years behind bars, KSTP reports.
And the court of appeals agreed, saying Monday: the "district court improperly relied exclusively on offender-related factors to support its downward durational departure." Such factors included Schnickel showing remorse, accepting responsibility and demonstrating willingness for treatment.
He was fired by the police department following an investigation that led to charges.
No date has been set for the new sentencing, WCCO reports.