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January 28, 2012

Fifth Circuit to review en banc restitution sentences for child porn downloaders

As effectively detailed here at How Appealing, the Fifth Circuit issued two orders earlier this week in which it has called for en banc review of whether and how federal law permits a child depicted in illegal porn to secure a restitution award in the sentencing of an offender who only downloaded that child's image.  Interestingly, these cases had been decided by Fifth Circuit panels back in early 2011; one might speculate that there was an extended debate within the Fifth Circuit before it finally decided to rehear these cases en banc.

Absent congressional changes to applicable law, the issue of restitution awards in child porn downloading cases seems likely eventually to get to the US Supreme Court.  Consequently, I would expect an even further appeal in these cases no matter what the Fifth Circuit ultimately rules when considering this matter as a full court.

Some related recent federal child porn restitution posts:

January 28, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

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