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Latest Development: Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduce the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act  KSL News 05/08/14

Doyle R. Paroline pled guilty to possession of 150-300 images of child pornography, including two photographs of "Amy Unknown", a victim of child pornography. He was sentenced to 24 months of incarceration followed by release under supervision. Under a federal statute that mandates full restitution to victims of child pornography by those convicted of creating, distributing or possessing such material, the Government and Amy sought restitution in the amount of nearly $3.4 million. The district court denied restitution and held that the statute required the Government to prove that Paroline’s possession of the images was the proximate cause of the injuries for which restitution was sought. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed and held that Paroline was responsible for restitution for all the victim’s losses even if his criminal acts occurred after the victim’s losses. The Supreme Court chose Paroline v. United States to settle these ambiguities in the statute.

Supreme Court Oral Arguments | Listen to the audio | Read the transcript | Read the Opinion


Stanley G. Schneider

Attorney for the petitioner, Doyle Paroline, argues that restitution is a sentencing issue for those convicted of trafficking in child pornography, and that the accused are to be dealt with one at a time, getting a restitution sentence that, like any other punishment, must fit the individual’s conduct.

Michael R. Dreeben

Attorney for the U.S. government, argues that courts should use an “aggregate” standard of cause in which they weigh what part of harm suffered by the victim can be attributed to the pornographer, when others also contributed to it.

Paul G. Cassell

Attorney for the respondant "Amy Unknown", argues that any individual convicted of possessing images of “Amy” should at least potentially be required to pay the full amount of restitution that she is due.

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