The Champion

October 2011 , Page 12 

Search the Champion Looking for something specific?

Preview of Member Only Content

For full access: login or Become a Member Join Now

A Quiet but Growing Judicial Rebellion Against Harsh Sentences For Child Pornography Offenses — Should the Laws Be Changed?

By Sen. Arlen Specter and Linda Dale Hoffa

Federal criminal sentences should be “sufficient, but not greater than necessary.”1 They should fit the crime, provide for “adequate deterrence,” “protect the public,” and promote rehabilitation.2 Since the Supreme Court decisions in Booker and Kimbrough,3 federal courts again have great discretion, within certain limits, to decide appropriate federal sentences. Congress, however, has taken pains to limit that discretion with regard to child pornography offenses, and the federal courts, in a series of judicial decisions across the country, including recent Second and Third Circuit decisions, are firmly rebelling.4 The questions arise: Are the courts right? Has Congress gone too far in its desire to punish this undesirable type of criminal conduct?

A History of Escalating Penalties

In 2009, the U.S. Sentencing Commission released a report that surveyed the history of child pornography sentencing, revealing a pattern of direct congressional action that has increased penalties severely over

Want to read more?

The Champion archive is reserved for NACDL members.

NACDL members, please login to read the rest of this article.
login

Not a member? Join now.
Join Now
Or click here to see an overview of NACDL Member benefits.

See what NACDL members say about us.

To read the current issue of The Champion in its entirety, click here.

  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org
  • Academic Requests: Full articles of The Champion Magazine are available for academic and research purposes in the WestLaw and LexisNexis databases.

In This Section

Advertisement Advertise with Us
ad