The number of federal child pornography (sexual abuse and torture image/video)Â cases has exploded during the last 15 years as Congress passed mandatoryÂ 5 minimum sentences and federal authorities have declared such investigations a priority.Â Â
While the number ofÂ casesÂ is still dwarfed by drug and immigration cases floodingÂ federal courts,Â no other crime is growing at the 2,500 percent rate the FBI claims for child pornography arrests.Â AndÂ cases will only continue to grow as appeals courts approveÂ search and seizure methods.
While Defense Attorneys argue that less harsh penalties should be considered, many others don’t agree.
Prosecutors and child advocates such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children argue the harsh penalties are justified: Â consumers of child pornography keep the trade alive.
Appeals courts agree. Last month, the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered those convicted of child pornography to pay restitution to the victims whenever possible. It’s the second appellate court to make such a ruling.
“The end users of child pornography enable and support the continued production of child pornography,” Judge Charles R. Wilson wrote for the unanimous three judge panel on Jan. 28. “They provide the economic incentive for the creation and distribution of the pornography, and the end users violate the child’s privacy by possessing their image. All of these harms stem directly from an individual’s possession of child abuse images.”