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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Is possession of child pornography a crime worthy of years in prison?"

Doug Berman at Sentencing Law & Policy excerpts an article expressing doubt. In part:

When the Supreme Court upheld bans on possession of child pornography in 1989, its main rationale was that demand for this material encourages its production, which necessarily involves the abuse of children.  But this argument has little relevance now that people who look at child pornography typically get it online for free.  Furthermore, people who possess "sexually obscene images of children" — production of which need not entail abuse of any actual children — face the same heavy penalties.

Another rationale for criminalizing possession of child pornography, mentioned by the sentencing commission in its report, is that these images "validate and normalize the sexual exploitation of children."  Yet the same could be said of explicit arguments in favor of sex with minors, which nevertheless enjoy First Amendment protection.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2014/02/is-possession-of-child-pornography-a-crime-worthy-of-years-in-prison.html

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