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November 29, 2009

"Federal judges argue for reduced sentences for child-porn convicts"

The title of this post is the headline of this long front-page article in today's Denver Post.  Here are excerpts:

In a nationwide series of hearings, members of the U.S. Sentencing Commission have heard from federal judges seeking reduced sentences for a group of defendants one would think unlikely to get sympathy from the bench: possessors of child pornography.

From New York to Chicago, and recently in Denver, federal judges have testified before the commission, which sets federal punishments, that the current sentencing structure for possessing and viewing child pornography is too severe.

The commission has made reviewing child-pornography sentencing guidelines a priority of its work, which will end in May and could include a change to the guidelines to allow shorter sentences for future offenders.

Judges, for the most part, have based their argument on a belief that some of the defendants who view child pornography have never molested a child or posed a risk to the community and may be better served by treatment rather than prison.

As federal guidelines now stand, the number of images and the way the contraband is obtained enhance prison terms. A first-time offender with no criminal history can be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison....

In 1995, federal defendants convicted of possessing child pornography were sentenced to an average of 15 months in prison, Ilgen's attorney wrote in court documents. By 2007, first-time child-pornography offenders were receiving 102 months in federal prison....

Ernie Allen, president and chief executive of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said some judges don't realize possessing the images revictimizes the children in the photographs and fuels a growing online business. "There are too many judges who continue to provide token sentences for what we consider to be serious crimes," Allen said. "These are images of prepubescent children, growing numbers of them infants and toddlers, and they trade with each other for purposes of arousal and breaking down the inhibitions of other children."

Allen said educating the judiciary about the impact of child pornography on victims is key. "We are not in favor of disproportionate sentencing or disparities, but the problem here is too many judges who simply do not recognize how serious these crimes are," he said.

A few related recent child porn sentencing posts:

November 29, 2009 at 01:09 PM | Permalink

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Comments

And there are way too many SOB's that peddle tragedy for a dollar and let's count Ernie Allen as the CEO of that group.

In fact, there is not a single true statement anything he says in that article.

(1) Some children feel revictimized by having their picture on the internet. Some don't. Ernie Allen doesn't speak for most abused children.

(2) The on-line for profit business of child pornography is minuscule, not more than 5% of all porn traded.

(3) Some child porn is traded in order to seek arousal. Much of it is traded to enhance status among fellow porn producers.

(4) Child porn is not used to break down a child's inhibitions because for young children they have no inhibitions. They simply don't understand; their minds are blank sexually speaking. Older children are most often shown *adult* pornography to take advantage of their typical desire to act mature.

No wonder he concludes judges are just stupid. It's far easier to insult people and justify it with lies than it is to actually educate oneself.

Posted by: Daniel | Nov 29, 2009 1:47:50 PM

I believe that possessors of child pornography should have very strict sentences. People who are looking at images of the victimization of children are re-victimizing these children all over again. I think it is really sad that the judges want the sentences reduced, personally, I think the sentences should be much less lenient.

Posted by: Amanda Cooke | Nov 29, 2009 4:53:47 PM

Amanda, There are a number of problems with your argument.

1. You do not seem to know what the “normal” sentence for mere possession of child pr0n is, nor do you know how it compares to sentences for other crimes. Thus, your assertion that penalties are too lenient makes little sense.
2. You do not define “victimize” yet you still conclude that trafficking in images (rather than producing) constitutes an additional victimization. Even assuming that you are correct, simple possession by one person would only mean marginally more “victimization.” Let’s take a hypothetical. If one person produces an image, we can probably agree that the child is victimized. If he distributes it to 1000 people, perhaps the child it victimized a bit more. However, the 1001st recipient is not adding too much more trauma.

Finally, I think we need to get away from the cliché notion that being a victim of a sex crime is worse than being a victim of a physical crime. I suspect many people would rather have something bad sexually happen to them than, say, lose a limb or be paralyzed. Thus, any penalties for possession of child pr0n need be less than actual physical damage to a person.

Allen’s comments are silly. The judiciary is not “educated” by people. Instead, a judiciary hears cases on the basis of the law and facts presented to it.

Posted by: S.cotus | Nov 29, 2009 7:04:06 PM

The on-line for profit business of child pornography is minuscule, not more than 5% of all porn traded.

You know this how? Any cites?

Some child porn is traded in order to seek arousal. Much of it is traded to enhance status among fellow porn producers.

Ditto

Child porn is not used to break down a child's inhibitions because for young children they have no inhibitions. They simply don't understand; their minds are blank sexually speaking

Children have no inhibitions? They are tabula rasas you say. Any proof for that statement?

You do not seem to know what the “normal” sentence for mere possession of child pr0n is, nor do you know how it compares to sentences for other crimes. Thus, your assertion that penalties are too lenient makes little sense.

Amanda never said the sentences were lenient. Read again.

constitutes an additional victimization. Even assuming that you are correct,

Really? we must assume and not simply accept that a victim of child porn who knows that people all over the world are masturbating to their images is not victimized?

he distributes it to 1000 people, perhaps the child it victimized a bit more.

Kind of like when someone hits someone in the head with a hammer a hundred times. the 101th time is "just a little more."

Instead, a judiciary hears cases on the basis of the law and facts presented to it.

So, that judges are much tougher now in DV and DWI cases merely reflects legislative changes and nothing else?

I think we need to get away from the cliché notion that being a victim of a sex crime is worse than being a victim of a physical crime.

That I can agree with. But where do you think that notion comes from? Feminism comes to my mind...

Posted by: differ | Nov 29, 2009 10:58:42 PM

differ. Once upon a time I would have taken the effort to link to the congressional testimony of various experts, including many from the FBI. Not anymore; too many trolls. If you are sincere about educating yourself you can do your own work.

Yes, young children don't have any inhibitions. That doesn't mean their minds are a tabla rasa. But again, if you would make an effort to educate yourself on basic psychological concepts you would know that already.

Posted by: Daniel | Nov 30, 2009 2:04:46 AM

we really have to take legal actions on this kind or ridiculous crimes. this will also prohibit the same kind of this acts in the future against minors. this site offers a very reliable assistance:

Legal Forms

Posted by: Forms | Nov 30, 2009 4:13:41 AM

The sole mature purpose of prison or the death penalty is incapacitation. Other aims do not justify the costs and are just vengeance.

Take an extreme. A possessor has pics taken in 1910. What additional harm has possession done? Should he take up a prison bed, when there is a waiting list for murdering gangbangers to get in?

The remedy is best left to torts and intellectual property law. Even if a parent signed a consent, the contract is void for illegality. The remedies in those fields are mostly against the publishers and distributors. However, an RIAA approach to settling for a specific amount for each download has yet to be tried. Most possessors likely will prefer to avoid public litigation.

As an owner of the prisons, I agree with the judges. (I want credit for that.)

As to naivete, no. Kids know what they want sexually at age 3, developed adults, if normal. If a child is abused, the most negative consequence is for the child to victimize others, if he has loose morals. Most children have good morals, and do not victimize others. The producers teach children sex, not possessors.

I would like to prosecute early childhood sex educators as producers, because of their direct contact and grooming of our children in public schools. They are causing massive increases in sexual acting out by teaching stuff the child never knew. They may be more harmful than child porn producers because they indoctrinate millions of children into early childhood sex acts, rather than victimizing dozens of children as producers do. Lawyers will impose this indoctrination on our kids to promote bastardy and to destroy the remains of the white family. This lawyer scheme is working.

Say, I strongly disapprove of bomb making, in my lecture. I teach kindergarten students, never do this. It is very bad. Then I go into detail on how to make and plant a bomb. Will there be more or less bomb making and planting by kindergarten children after such a course? I would like to see parents report to the FBI all early childhood sex educators as groomers for sex activity. The FBI should trace the policy to its originators in the government, and arrest the lawyers who instituted the policy. This early, intense sex indoctrination is part of the left wing government assault on the family, and just another lawyer crime. Try resisting the indoctrination in a school district, the federal government will crush you.

The subject may be introduced as part of health class to post-pubertal students.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 30, 2009 7:35:57 AM

differ:

"constitutes an additional victimization. Even assuming that you are correct,"

Really? we must assume and not simply accept that a victim of child porn who knows that people all over the world are masturbating to their images is not victimized?

"he distributes it to 1000 people, perhaps the child it victimized a bit more."

Kind of like when someone hits someone in the head with a hammer a hundred times. the 101th time is "just a little more."

I don't accept this revictimization argument--it is magical thinking. But assuming it is true who is revictimizing the victims? I would suggest that it is not the possessors. In fact it is the government. When the government nabs a possessor who is in possession of kiddie porn containing a known child, the government sends the known child (now an adult) a victim rights notice. So it is the government's notice not some feeling that somewhere, some unknown possessor is masturbating to their picture that revictimizes the victim.

Posted by: Q | Nov 30, 2009 8:49:08 AM

amanda: "personally, I think the sentences should be much less lenient."

differ: "Amanda never said the sentences were lenient. Read again"

me: maybe you should take your own advice, sweetie. As for whether child pornography charges are punished too harshly, there are states where a person can get more time for possession of child pornography than actually molesting a child. I mean people who possess child pornography are icky and all, but child molesters are way more icky.

differ: "Really? we must assume and not simply accept that a victim of child porn who knows that people all over the world are masturbating to their images is not victimized?"

me: how can you separate harm relating from publication from harm from the original violation? While I assume there is additional harm based simply on it being more icky to add in your image reaching the hands of creepy losers throughout the world, I really cannot separate additional damage from the original filimg. My way of looking at it would be if you went to the bathroom and there was a hidden camera - that would obviously lead to feelings of violation whether the images from the camera were distributed via the internet to other pervs who are into looking at women using the bathroom or just one. Of course, S COTUS is right - the margainal harm from additional distribution decreases with each additional copy. While the harm from the orignal creation and copy one is great, the harm from copy 1000 to 1001 is much less. However, besides my own personal feelings of ickiness I really don't have any proof of that - but, I believe that my feelings are likely typical.

S COTUS: "I think we need to get away from the cliché notion that being a victim of a sex crime is worse than being a victim of a physical crime."

differ: "That I can agree with. But where do you think that notion comes from? Feminism comes to my mind..."

me: No, absolutely not! It actually comes from sexist assumptions about women and the old notion that women are property of men. It also comes from the notion that a victim of the sex crime is somehow to blame for the crime - that they were somehow asking to be raped. I actually believe that a lot of hte assumptions surrounding sex crimes are based on sexist assumptions about women - however, only a fool would fail to see that sexually violating someone is one of the worst things you can do to someone. The problem with those other non-homicide/non-sexual violent crimes is often that they are not punished enough vis a vis other crimes. That could be because other crimes are punished too heavily, but you don't have to spend very much time in court to see examples where people get more time for comparatively minor offenses (mainly drug offenses, but also some property crimes) than what should be seriously violent offenses which have a substantial risk of death or cause serious injuries. And yes, I consider possession of child pornography to be in the "compratively minor offense" category.

Ginny :)

Posted by: virginia | Nov 30, 2009 11:15:31 AM

Virginia, I agree with you in part. I've always believed the worst thing you can do to a person is whatever that person feels it is. If people grow up think that sexual assault is the worst thing that can happen to them, when it does, it will be. However, if you compare the crimes of rape and physical assault, where the assault resulted in loss of limb, common sense would say the latter was worse. Rape is psychological, people can recover, but a limb will never grow back.

Posted by: E | Nov 30, 2009 12:09:51 PM

The day will come when some cyber technically equipped geek will plant child porn on the computer of every congressman and every federal judge. They will be possessors of child porn.
When they get their computers worked on I hope the computer repair person turns them in. Let them explain it. "Oh, I really did not possess it because I didnt label it." Or, "Oh, I really did not know it was in there on my computer file list even though it was labeled 'kids doing sex'." "Ten years for having some crap on my computer!" "Yeah Congressman Doodle." "Yeah Judge Schmuck. It's the law you passed and the law the judges enforce." "What do ya mean ya didnt know it was on there?"

Posted by: mpb | Nov 30, 2009 7:02:17 PM

"I really cannot separate additional damage from the original filimg."

Here is a video of a murder.

http://www.buzzhumor.com/videos/3031/Murder_on_Video

You have clicked on it, enjoyed it.

Can you separate additional damage from downloading the video of the shooting and shooting the person. As a family member of the victim, I get upset by your viewing the last seconds of my loved one's life. Should I be able to sue you for increasing my torment?

All -isms are true, 80% of the time, in 80% of the cases, contrary to the vile feminist lawyers and their male running dogs behind this waste of time and resources to attack the productive male with wrongful lawyer gotchas.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 30, 2009 8:39:10 PM

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