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May 2, 2009

The steady stream of child porn sentencings

I continue to find notable how many seemingly upstanding citizens find there way into federal prison for downloading kiddie porn.  For example, the San Francisco Chronicle reports here that a "former aide to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer was sentenced Friday to five years in federal prison for receiving child pornography."  Similarly consider these local articles here and here reporting on men who are 71 and 59 years old now getting long federal prison terms for obtaining child porn.

I sure hope that anyone on-line looking for kiddie porn finds this blog post and realizes that the punishment for this activity is severe.  General deterrence is the strongest argument to support why seemingly law abiding persons who merely downloaded kiddie porn pictures should get such lengthy prison terms for their first offenses.  I hope that, over time, this general deterrence is effective, and I will continue to post these stories in the hope I can do my own little part in helping to achieve this end.

May 2, 2009 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

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Comments

"General deterrence is the strongest argument to support why seemingly law abiding persons who merely downloaded kiddie porn pictures should get such lengthy prison terms for their first offenses."

That's a patently silly argument coming from someone who opposes the death penalty. Have you decided that Federalist is right after all? People who are engaged in downloading child pornography are doing so for intense psychological reasons upon which general deterrence has no impact, in the same way that the death penalty has little deterrent impact on the state of mind of an impassioned killer.

Especially for first offenders, what these people need is rehabilitation and treatment, not decades in the clink. If they prove incorrigible then stronger sentences are likely needed.

Posted by: Daniel | May 2, 2009 1:16:09 PM

If downloading child porn is suborning child abuse, why is downloading adult porn not suborning prostitution? I don't know. Above age 14, the person depicted is a biological adult, and prosecution is bogus lawyer job making.

The best explanation is lawyer rent seeking. Because this is a synonym for armed robbery, immoral, and wrongful, an aggressive stance should be taken by defendants, on principle (not to increase child porn.) If the depicted persons are over age 14, the prosecution should be personally deterred.

Total e-discovery should be demanded of all personal and work computers of the prosecutors, up the entire chain of command to the level of policy makers. Why? Improper motive and bias. The DOJ is the world's biggest subscriber and downloader of child porn. As to the reasoning, "It's for work. It's for investigative purposes. It's for research." Sure. That's what every defendant says too.

Then publish the result of the computer forensic expert's investigations. Report the prosecutor and all supervisors to ethics bodies. Always keep this enemy of freedom busy trying to survive.

One has to hire a separate lawyer to terrorize the defense lawyer into making such demands. The defense lawyer does not want his good friend and rain maker, the prosecutor, worried in any way. They may even get together after a case to drink to the stupidity of the public. I think Scotus told me that once. I believe it.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 2, 2009 1:26:48 PM

When did I ever say I opposed the death penalty, Daniel? It is telling that fans of the death penalty attack me for being an opponent, and opponents of the death penalty attack me for being a fan.

Posted by: Doug B. | May 2, 2009 1:33:26 PM

Doug. After I posted I asked myself the exact question you raise. Fair enough. Let me modify my sentence.

"...from someone who appears to oppose the death penalty."

Posted by: Daniel | May 2, 2009 4:59:11 PM

Prof. Berman: I could hire you to argue either position. Then reverse sides with a day's notice, and do an equally excellent lawyer job of advocacy.

What I could never get you to do is to utter the V word out loud. The V word generates no lawyer job.

Except in torts. In torts, it would be impossible to get you to stop repeating the V word, while needing a mop to dry the buckets of tears for the V word.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 2, 2009 5:34:32 PM

The point appears to be that these people do not realize the severe consequences they risk. Possession should be a public health issue with sufficient sanctions. Production should be the severe crime.

Posted by: George | May 2, 2009 5:46:58 PM

How do they know that these people's machines are not infected with some virus which downloads porn?

I am not saying this is the case, but I wonder.

It would be easy for some hacker to write a program to do this, and send many people to jail/prison, especially those he/she doesn't like.

Posted by: Sex Offender Issues | May 2, 2009 5:48:14 PM

Then you are living in a draconian, dream world, contrary to all the evidence which your country produces, on the ineffectiveness of deterrence, let alone where fundamental urges are concerned.

NLO

Posted by: Dr Nigel Leigh Oldfield | May 3, 2009 3:31:20 AM

Daniel's right; decades in the clink is the wrong approach.

Yet I'm still not clear on why the act of possessing sleazy images necessitates the need for rehabilitation and treatment...absent the presence of tangible, real-world victims (as opposed to the paper-thin ones that emerged in "creative" prosecutors' "novel theories."

If we had a real Fourth Amendment we wouldn't even know what was on these computers.

George's preference to view the issue as public health matter makes more sense than the existing police-state approach. But what would constitute a "sufficient sanction" for a health problem?

Supremacy Claus might be onto something, too, with his interest in the hard drives of the moral guardians leading this crusade.

Posted by: John K | May 3, 2009 11:49:22 AM

I think the proper response for first time possessors would be deferred adjudication. If you don't get help, then there is this huge stick of a sentence available.

Posted by: lawdoc | May 4, 2009 10:22:47 AM

This is a really great post and I'm really enjoying to debate

Posted by: live jasmin | May 30, 2009 7:34:39 PM

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