CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, April 30, 2018

Hessick on The Expansion of Child Pornography Law

Hessick carissaCarissa Byrne Hessick (University of North Carolina School of Law) has posted The Expansion of Child Pornography Law (21 New Criminal Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This symposium essay identifies two dramatic expansions of child pornography law: Prosecutions for possessing images of children who are clothed and not engaged in any sexual activity, and prosecutions for possessing smaller portions of artistic and non-pornographic images. These prosecutions have expanded the definition of the term child pornography well beyond its initial meaning. What is more, they signal that child pornography laws are being used to punish people not necessarily because of the nature of the picture they possess, but rather because of conclusions that those individuals are sexually attracted to children. If law enforcement concludes that a person finds an image of a child to be sexually arousing, then these laws can subject that individual to punishment, even though the image would have been perfectly innocuous had it been possessed by someone else.

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