Children

A Life Sentence for Possessing Child Pornography

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Last week a Florida judge sentenced Daniel Enrique Guevara Vilca, a 26-year-old with no criminal record, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for looking at forbidden pictures. A jury convicted Vilca on 454 counts of possessing child pornography, one for each image found on his computer. Under Florida law, each count is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Sentencing guidelines indicated a minimum term of 152 years, although Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt had discretion to impose a lighter sentence if he concluded it was justified by factors such as constitutional infirmity or Vilca's mental health. "Had Mr. Vilca actually molested a child," The New York Times notes, "he might well have received a lighter sentence."

While it is hard to make sense of that disparity under any set of values or priorities, the draconian punishments prescribed by state and federal laws for mere possession of child pornography seem to be based on the premise that anyone who looks at records of heinous acts must also be committing them or at least planning to do so. But as I noted in the July issue of Reason (and as the Times also points out), that simply isn't so: Research indicates that child porn consumers, like fans of violent movies, do not necessarily copy what they see. As Troy Stabenaw, a federal public defender who wrote a devastating 2009 critique (PDF) of federal sentencing guidelines for child pornography, tells the Times, "we ought to punish people for what they do, not for our fear."

The Times also quotes University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell, a former federal judge, who makes the familiar argument that "consumers of child pornography drive the market for the production of child pornography, and without people to consume this stuff there wouldn't be nearly as many children being sexually abused." How relevant is that concern now that people typically obtain child porn online for free? Steve Maresca, the assistant state attorney who prosecuted Vilca, tells the Times "these children are victimized, and when the images are shown over and over again, they're victimized over and over again." That claim seems even more problematic, since any such injury would require (at the very least) that victims know when people are looking at images of them. It also would not apply to child pornography featuring victims who are no longer alive.

I'm not sure either of these arguments is strong enough to justify criminalizing mere possession (as opposed to production) of child pornography. But I am sure the offense is not in the same moral ballpark as other crimes that are punished by life sentences. Cassell (who as a judge criticized absurdly harsh mandatory minimum sentences) agrees:

A life sentence for the crime of solely possessing child pornography would seem to be excessive. A life sentence is what we give first-degree murderers, and possession of child pornography is not the equivalent of first-degree murder.

My Reason piece, "Perverted Justice," cites more examples of senselessly severe child porn penalties, including the 200-year sentence received by a former Arizona high school teacher. Jesse Walker considered "The Blurry Boundaries of Child Porn" in a 2009 Reason essay.

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293 responses to “A Life Sentence for Possessing Child Pornography

  1. Good thing it was not pirated porn, or he would be in real trouble!

    1. Sarcasm…witty internet blather…cynicism…etc…

  2. I wonder if he’s listening to kiddie porn on those headphones.

    1. I assume he’s listening to a translator.

      1. What a RACIST assumption!

          1. Stand in line all you want.

            1. Reason doesn’t allow the proper symbols I need to convey myself. Linguisticists!

              1. ?Qu?? Puedo usar todos los accentos que necessito. Debe ser algo con tu maquina.

                1. ?Qu??

                  Cut and pasted.

    2. R Kelly

        1. No one ever goes with Pete Townshend for these things.

          1. Townsend was doing an “independent investigation”, not peerving. Remember? What kind of sentance is that PSU guy facing for actually abusing children?

            1. I bet less than this. And what a turd Paterno has turned out to be. A graduate assistant finds Sandusky in a shower having sex with a 10 year old. And Paterno tells the AD and forgets about it. WTF? How do you not call the police? They didn’t even inform the children’s charity the pervert worked for of the allegation. They just told him not to come around anymore and let him go on his way.

              1. Not to bring kids around anymore. He was still allowed access to PSU’s facilities, and had been spotted there working out just last week.

                Deadspin has some interesting commentary on the story. Restrained, sober, and mostly snark-free for once.

              2. The vast majority of accusations of child sexual abuse are false (well over 90%). Of those accusations that are based on fact, the majority were consensual encounters, criminalized by fiat rather than on any rational basis. It is no wonder, then, that people in the educational system whose familiarity with the facts led them to believe that no one had been harmed, were not in any hurry to guarantee harm by involving the police.

                Of course, anything involving children and sex is the exceptional crime – the one that requires everyone to abandon rational thought and requirements for evidence of any sort. Naturally the folks at the university are now falling over themselves to look like they are doing something and mouthing all the proper platitudes, for political reasons.

                1. That sounds like a bunch of NAMBLA dissembling.

                2. Hint: A 10 year old can’t give consent, so no, it was not consensual.

  3. It’s either life in prison, or life under a bridge when he gets out.

    1. Provided the bridge isn’t within a mile of anything that exist.

  4. I would imagine this will get reduced on appeal. It is just some jackass state judge strutting for the electorate.

    1. Elected judiciary has to be the absolute worst idea in history. That said, “mandatory minimum sentencing” runs a close second.

  5. Hey Jacob, you’ll understand when you have children.

    1. I guess having kids makes you an idiot then?

      1. Anecdotal evidence suggests yes.

          1. Kids should be eaten, not heard.

  6. Political Candidate A: It’s ridiculous that the sentence for this is so harsh. How can this be considered the same level of severity as first degree murder?

    Political Candidate B: Why do you want to let child molesters back on the streets! You hate children, and you stand up for the sick fucks who want to have sex with them!

    Candidate B then wins election by healthy margin. He is not, “soft on crime”.

    1. Don’t forget, you will understand when you have children. And of course the same people who applaud this let their 9 year old walk around in a pair of sweat pants that say “Juicy” across the ass.

      My God we are a sick fucking society.

      1. Not as sick as those pageant moms…

        1. You are not kidding. and I bet anything most of them think child molesters should be killed. But they are a okay with whoreing out their five year olds in a pagent.

      2. Oh John. You lose your appeal when you get all social-con nanny.

  7. Charging it as 454 counts is the stupid part.

    1. Not the only stupid part, but that is like charging drug possession by the molecule.

      1. “that is like charging drug possession by the molecule.”

        Don’t give them ideas.

    2. Some prosecutors have been known to charge each frame in a child porn video as a separate possession count.

  8. Yep, keep championing the plight of the poor guy with 454 images of child porn on his computer. And then whine about why the American people don’t take libertarianism seriously.

    1. Who did he harm, and how?

      1. —“Who did he harm, and how?”—

        The market means when there is a demand, it will (most probably) be filled. The larger the market, the (potentially) larger the supply.

        Is your argument is that the kids involved have already been harmed or that the defendant himself didn’t do any actual harm?

        There are certainly cases where the accused did not know or could not have known that the people depicted are minors (Traci Lords). But that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Adults voluntarily being involved in pornography is an entirely different case than this.

        Let’s save the “for teh childrenz” meme for when it’s appropriate, which does not seem to be the issue in this case.

        1. Read my below comments. I’ve already thoroughly destroyed your argument.

          Not going to type out the same exact argument though because you can’t be arsed to scroll down.

          1. —“I’ve already thoroughly destroyed your argument”—

            No, you haven’t.

            1. Then respond to it.

              “The market means when there is a demand, it will (most probably) be filled. The larger the market, the (potentially) larger the supply.”

              On the same token the smaller the supply the higher the demand for new material, and the harder it is to get the higher the demand for new material.

              You’re argument is the same as saying that people who possess war footage or possess footage of stores being robbed fuel the market for further wars, murder, and theft.

              Can you rebut any of my below arguments in the comment section or are you just going to reply here like the coward you are?

              1. *Your argument

              2. —“Other people in this thread have raised further issues with your argument as well.”—

                I’ll respond to this comment from below here, as I also wanted to point out that I have responded to you without engaging in any name calling. My handle contains my e-mail address, I don’t hide behind a fake handle. I have only stated my belief.

                These are the arguments that I have made:

                1) The production of child pornography harms children, in the short term due to physical harm and most likely in the long term due to psychological harm.

                2) There is a market for child pornagraphy, be it cash based or barter based.

                3) Larger demand for any commodity will usually result in a larger supply.

                4) I don’t condone, in fact I condemn the exploitation of anybody, adult or child.

                5) Adhereing to my principles may have costs, and I would like to believe I am willing to pay those costs.

                Have I missed any?

                1. I’ve already responded to all these arguments. But fuck, I’ll do it again since you are incapable of just replying to these subjects where they’ve more less been totally argued out already.

                  “1) The production of child pornography harms children, in the short term due to physical harm and most likely in the long term due to psychological harm.”

                  We aren’t arguing production should be legal. So what does this even have to do with anything?

                  “2) There is a market for child pornagraphy, be it cash based or barter based.”

                  I already responded to this just above and below, probably about 3 times in this thread already. The market for CP is not the same as other markets and by restricting the supply you are increasing the demand for new stuff to be made, so laws against possession only backfire.

                  “3) Larger demand for any commodity will usually result in a larger supply.”

                  Already addressed above and below…. and smaller supply will increase demand for new stuff to be made.

                  “4) I don’t condone, in fact I condemn the exploitation of anybody, adult or child.”

                  No one is condoning this. So why did you even bring it up?

                  “5) Adhereing to my principles may have costs, and I would like to believe I am willing to pay those costs.”

                  You’re “principles” are stupid and they harm children and adults alike. They make it more likely children will be abused, and they make it less likely people exploiting children will be brought to justice because it encourages the destruction of evidence.

                  “Have I missed any?”

                  Yes, your braincells, all of them.

                  1. —“We aren’t arguing production should be legal”—

                    I didn’t say anybody was.

                    —“by restricting the supply you are increasing the demand”—

                    Not how markets work.

                    —“So why did you even bring it up?”—

                    Because I don’t understand how so many libertarians can think that this is in any way OK.

                    1. “Not how markets work.”

                      But if the supply is diminished it encourages people to create new stuff. That is exactly how markets work.

                    2. Increased demand encourages new production, not restricted supply.

                    3. The restricted supply increases demand for new production.

                      If there is a shortage of widgets does it not create the demand for new widgets to be produced?

                    4. Restricted supply will stimulate production ONLY if there is demand.

                      If I own a widget factory and manufacture 100 widgets when there is only a demand for 65 widgets, I cannot increase demand by cutting my production to 75 widgets.

                    5. But making it illegal doesn’t reduce demand. So what’s your point? It has been made plainly obvious by the war on drugs and other prohibitions that making it illegal may actually increase its popularity. As countries who decriminalized drugs have seen reduced usage and consumption of them.

                      In general I don’t think the drug market can be compared to the CP market, but in this way it can. At least in that it doesn’t reduce the demand any to make possession illegal.

                    6. I am opposed to CP because it exploits people who cannot defend themselves or make informed choices as to whether or not to participate. From above: “4) I don’t condone, in fact I condemn the exploitation of anybody, adult or child.”

                      I am also opposed to drug use by minors for somewhat the same reason,they are mostly unable to make an informed choice. I have no problems with the legalization of the use of ANY drug by adults, along with the legalization of any activity between consenting adults.

                    7. Also, if there is demand for 100 widgets and they can all be reused, but there are only 5 of them and they are well hidden, how does this not create the incentive for more widgets to be creates?

                    8. Again, demand drives production, as your example indicates. Less production, if there is no corresponding higher level of demand, does not in itself stimulate supply. The demand exceeds supply, so there is an incentive to produce more widgets.

                    9. —“does not in itself stimulate supply”—

                      Should be stimulate demand.

                    10. I think you’re stuck on the terms I’m using. What I’m saying is… the demand doesn’t change based on the legality of possession.

                      So by reducing the supply you only create the incentive for new stuff to be created instead of old supply being used.

                      Do you understand now?

                    11. –“I think you’re stuck on the terms I’m using”—

                      You are using those terms, so I can only respond to those terms.

                      –“the demand doesn’t change based on the legality of possession.”—

                      I never said it did.

                      —“So by reducing the supply you only create the incentive for new stuff to be created instead of old supply being used”—

                      I cannot accept the argument that since some children have already been exploited, we should continue to exploit them because if we don’t, other children will be exploited.

                      What I believe we should do is appropriately punish the exploiters, the ones who facilitate the exploiters and the ones who drive the exploitation by consuming the products of the exploitation.

                      If your objective is to get me to condone the production and distribution of CP in any way whatsoever, you are doomed to fail because I will NEVER condone it.

                      That is my bottom line position and it is not going to change.

                      As regards the punishment in this particular case, I don’t care what sentence he got. 454 images is a lot more than just curious. If this works as a deterent for future offenders, or is just seen as punishment for his actions, oh well. I can’t generate a great deal of heartburn over it.

                    12. Okay… here it is as precisely as I can put it:

                      Legality doesn’t really affect the level of demand. This has been proven by countries who legalized the possession of drugs. If the supply of already created widgets is hard to get to because it is illegal to distribute them then it is more likely someone will create new widgets to fill the demand even if there is a massive supply somewhere already because the people they know can’t get to it.

                      Creation should be illegal, distribution for money should be illegal also. But distribution for free between individuals should be legal, as well as possession.

                      Besides, the more people that see stuff that is created the more likely the person creating it and the children being victimized will be identified and stopped.

                      “I cannot accept the argument that since some children have already been exploited, we should continue to exploit them because if we don’t, other children will be exploited.”

                      That’s like saying the property owners of 7-11’s are being violated over and over again every single time someone watches the surveillance video on youtube.

                    13. videos of 7-11 robberies even…

                    14. Or were you just trying to help me state my argument better?

                    15. I’ll start from scratch and re-iterate it one more time.

                      The demand stays the same no matter the legality of possession. And in countries that decriminalized drugs their use rates went down many times so it might actually reduce demand to have possession to be legal…

                      If the demand for it is about 100 widgets regardless of legality. There are only 5 widgets and they are well hidden. Some people can’t find widgets at all, because of the legality regarding distribution, even though you can copy them digitally an infinite number of times once found.

                      So since some people can’t find any, or maybe only one of the well hidden ones, because older ones have been destroyed or it just isn’t available anywhere to get and copy.

                      So instead of satiating the demand off of old supply which can be copied and duplicated infinitely, people demand for new material to be created from someone who they know who is willing to do such things and thus you’re whole idea of outlawing possession and distribution of stuff already created completely backfires on you.

                    16. I should say:

                      “Since banning something has never proven to be able to reduce demand… we can safely assume demand will remain about the same regardless of legality.

                      But there are only 5 widgets and they are well hidden. Some people can’t find widgets at all, because of the legality regarding distribution, even though you can copy them digitally an infinite number of times once found.”

                    17. You’re both making it too complicated. The goal is to reduce or eliminate the number of children being exploited right?

                      Punishing simple possession does not do a good job of achieving this goal. You should absolutely punish production, sale, and purchase, but possession in this digital age rarely means that a purchase has occurred.

                      Some data I’ve seen indicates that imagery may actually decrease the incidence of sexual abuse, satisfying a desire in a mental rather than physical manner. If this is true, then free CP possibly has a positive externality.

                      If you care more about punishing perverts than saving children, then by all means lock up all the bastards! else, focus on producers who are abusing children & purchasers who are creating a financial incentive for that abuse.

                  2. Okay, Yes, it should be crime to produce child porn and to facilitate its production by purchasing it. As far I can tell, this guy is charged with neither of those things. He is charged with looking at it. Now, if this is a crime, anyone who has ever glanced at it, in whatever capacity and for whatever purpose and with whatever intention should be charged with exactly the same crime. When you get down to it, if this guy has not abused a child or facilitated the abuse of a child, we are in the arena of “thought crimes” and this is a very dangerous place to be.

                2. “1) The production of child pornography harms children, in the short term due to physical harm and most likely in the long term due to psychological harm.”

                  False because “child pornography” is a misnomer. By law, it means any porn involving sb under 18.
                  False because, even when these are real children (i.e. usually under 12), it can be anything from consensual/pleasurable sex games between children or with an adult to assault or rape.

                  Thus, physical pain is not automatic.
                  Also, there is no scientific evidence that adult/child sex that’s pleasurable for the child is psychologically damaging in the long term for the vast majority of them.

                3. “1) The production of child pornography harms children, in the short term due to physical harm and most likely in the long term due to psychological harm.”

                  The vast majority of “child pornography” consists of simple nude images, and the “hardcore” stuff is mostly images of “self abuse” (masturbation) or oral sex, so the “physical harm” argument is doubtful.

                  The psychological harm (where present) is almost entirely sociogenic: children are instructed that they are victims of the most horrible crime possible, and that the person they thought loved them is really a horrible, despicable person who committed a terrible crime against them. Just for good measure, the children may be forcibly separated from the person who may have been the only adult who ever treated them as an actual person, and either shunned or patronized by anyone who knows their history. Of course they will be psychologically harmed – but having appeared in salacious photos is probably the least of their worries.

                  Whatever happens, you can be assured that the child abuse industry will make their profit.

    2. Yeah because whenever someone breaks the law, they deserve the maximum punishment. No matter how bad the crime, the person is entitled to a just sentence. And this is not a just sentence. And anyone conservative or liberal ought to be appaled by this.

      Go sell stupid elsewhere or gambol around with White Indian.

    3. Need a ruling here: are we allowed to respond to right-wing trolls? I mean are we just ignorning the obvious rather/WI set-up, or are we supposed to be ignoring ALL trolls regardless?

      1. I am guilty. But at least it relates to the topiic of the thread. Granted it is idiotic right wing trolling. So I am not sure either.

      2. Holding a hack’s views doesn’t automatically make you a troll. Posting comments in order to get twenty replies telling you that you’re a dickhead is trolling.

        The definition of trolling on reason.com is almost as bad as what constitutes a hipster.

        1. …roommate with a hipster or have a troll on your favorite site?

    4. Yes, it would be much better to change what we believe so we can be more palatable to others. Because then we’d be just like every other nervous nellie, but libertarianism would be popular and meaningless, and of course that was what we wanted all along. Thanks for reminding us, unhyphenatedconservative.

    5. So you like the fact that having pictures on his computer gives him a longer sentence than actually raping children and the same as murdering them? Why do you hate children so much you sick fuck?

    6. *&^%$#@! constitutional rights, how do they work?

  9. discretion to impose a lighter sentence if he concluded it was justified by factors such as constitutional infirmity

    I see what you did there.

  10. And who did he harm, and how?

  11. “we ought to punish people for what they do, not for our fear.”

    I fear you are correct.

  12. Hey Jacob, you’ll understand when you have children.

    ..and make porn with them and lose your porn-filled memory card and your porn shows up on the internet and an ugly Mexican jacks to it.

    THEN YOU’LL KNOW

  13. Serious legal question: what’s the basis for charging him separately for each image? If you steal 454 one-dollar bills, you don’t get charged with 454 crimes, I don’t think. What’s the legal principle on how crimes are either separated or lumped together?

    1. The legal “basis”, if you can call it that, is simply that the law was changed to reflect the public finding this particular cime to be much worse than other crimes.

      It’s assumed that a consumer of child porn is a much, much worse and more dangerous human being than, say, your run of the mill bank robber.

    2. What’s the legal principle on how crimes are either separated or lumped together?

      “Fuck you,” that’s what!

    3. But the act of stealing those bills is one act. Possessing each picture is considered to be crime. It is kind of bullshit. It is like finding someone with 40 pounds of cocaine and charging them with 40 counts of possession of one pound. But that is how it works.

    4. As far as I can tell, the basis seems to be whether or not it’s an election year.

    5. It actually goes by the smallest unit of currency. So that’s 45,400 counts of theft.

      1. with each sentence to be served consecutively

      2. Shouldn’t he be charged for each pixel of porn, then?

        1. Pixels are typically RGB. Each of the red, green and blue images would be discernable. 3 counts per pixel.

      3. The USA used to issue half-cent coins. That theft of $454 ought to constitute 90,800 counts of theft.

        And if it was Monopoly money that was stolen, and it was actually not stolen but received as a gift from the owner? That doesn’t change anything.

    6. It’s actually a loop hole. Just merge every picture into one and you just get charged once.

  14. Harsh. Yet, I do not feel sorry for him in the least. And I think it is a waste of judicial resources to spend any more time on him.

    1. Would you still say that if your neighbor planted CP on your computer and then you had to prove someone else put them there or otherwise be screwed for the rest of your life?

      1. No, but is that his story? If so, and he could prove it, he wouldn’t be where he is.

        1. But he shouldn’t have to prove he didn’t hurt anyone. The burden of proof should be on the state.

          1. Wrong, not when a defendant asserts an affirmative defense.

            1. Well that’s only assuming you think possession of a record of a crime should be illegal.

              I’m arguing they need to prove he actually harmed someone, not just possessed the records of crimes.

      2. —“Would you still say that if your neighbor planted CP on your computer and then you had to prove someone else put them there or otherwise be screwed for the rest of your life?”—

        Or, you could do what any person with a shred of decency would do and immediately report it. That should protect you from trouble (but obviously no gaurantee. At least a defense at trial if that happened).

        Are we as libertarians at the point at which we condone anything, even the exploitation of defenseless people, children or adults, to prove a political point and to show how “pure libertarian” we are?

        1. Read my below comments. They will seize your PC and you’ll probably never get it back if you report it to the FBI. Also they still might charge you with possession.

          1. —“They will seize your PC and you’ll probably never get it back”—

            So we only to the right thing when it doesn’t have any potential to cost us anything? Then we don’t have principles that guide our actions.

            Losing my computer would not make me happy, but the right thing to do is

            1. Losing my computer would not make me happy, but the right thing to do is to attemp to put a stop to the exploitation.

              1. If the stuff is 30 years old and the person who created it has already been brought to justice then what exploitation do I need to bring an end to?

                1. —“If the stuff is 30 years old and the person who created it has already been brought to justice”—

                  Strawman. I don’t see any claim in the article that this is the case.

                  1. But we weren’t talking about the above mentioned case, plus you don’t even know that for a fact. All of the material he had could have been from long solved cases.

                    We were talking about how the current law gives people the incentive to destroy evidence that otherwise might have been preserved and could have been used to prosecute someone who raped a child.

                  2. Or actually right here we were talking about how people who accidentally download it and delete it sometimes get prosecuted as well.

        2. “Are we as libertarians ”

          Who says you’re a libertarian? You sound more like a moralist crusading busy-body to me.

    2. Or, maybe even more plausible, you’re browsing some legit (adult) porn sites, and one of the links you clicks goes to a child-porn site. You quickly close the browser window, but the browser cached those images on your computer. See you in 50 years sucka!

      1. Please refer me to this prosecution. I haven’t seen it. If it has happened, I would agree with you.

        1. It has. Googling for it now… but it might take me a bit to find.

        2. Another problem is I’m too paranoid to search for a string with “child porn” in it on google or youtube…

          But if you aren’t. Look for the local news reportings of the 18-19 year old college kid who downloaded a misnamed file that really had underage people in it. I believe it was even deleted, and they still charged him for this.

          Yes they can and will charge you for deleted files (but still recoverable) on people’s hard drives where there was no evidence they downloaded the material intentionally.

          1. I will do that. From home.

            1. I think he downloaded it off of limewire, and the reporter claimed to have multiple complaints from viewers who said they had accidentally downloaded child porn too, because the file was misnamed.

              He got charged with distribution since limewire is a p2p filesharing service too.

              THe reporter even called to ask the FBI what they should do if they accidentally download child porn. They said to “report it”, but they will “probably seize the computer”. And no, you won’t get it back anytime soon, if ever… so there is no incentive at all to report it unless you.

              #1 want to lose your whole computer
              #2 there’s nothing stopping them from charging you with possession in the latest versions of CP laws they took out any exceptions for “keeping for reporting”, and even then it was only two pieces. What if you wanted to preserve the evidence of some unknown child sexual abuse, but since the law only allowed for 2 pieces you had to delete most of the evidence to protect yourself legally? How does that even begin to make sense.

              Plus this whole thing has lead to thoughtcrime as seen here:

              http://cbldf.org/about-us/case-files/handley/

              It HAS been a slippery slope, and it IS a violation of the first amendment!

              1. So in other words it’s nothing like you described.

                P2P isn’t a legit porn site.

                1. Huh?

                  When did I compare it to a legit porn site?

                  1. OH I understand now. But you misunderstood the above poster’s statement.

                    For example… say you are browsing porn on a forum… or a message board like 4chan.org. Someone posts a link to child porn proxying through The Onion Router on the message board, you click on it not knowing what it is.

                    You really are ignorant on this subject, Tulpa… but then again how can the general population be expected to know anything about it when just studying the problem would be illegal.

                    1. 4chan isn’t a legit porn site either.

                      Legit porn sites have notices explaining where the federal record-keeping requirement data can be found. You stray from that, you’re like a pawn shop owner buying Rolexes for $20 off the street.

                    2. So then the burden of proof is on the accused? That’s how you believe it should be?

      2. That is a potential problem with the statutes’ wording but it wasn’t the case in this case. He had the images in intentional storage.

      3. Not to mention the fact that if any of those legit sites had minors working for them the cops would not hesitate to bust you even if the site claimed 18 and older. They would say it didn’t matter.

        1. Think that’s bad? In some modern countries the age of consent regarding pornographic production is 16 or 17. The media was produced by completely legal means in its home turf but it turns into a felony once an American comes into contact with it.

          Back in the Navy, my ship did a deployment to the Mediterranean. The last week of our six months, the Captain called for a “Health and Comfort” Inspection in which ALL sexual images on the ship were confiscated and deep sixed. This involved the entire senior staff going through every locker and personal space aboard. The skipper explained to the crew about the whole age of consent differences and how he didn’t want any of us to become accidental owners of kiddie porn. Apparently, he had seen a friend get in trouble over a similar situation.

          Even the local versions of mainstream publications like Playboy and Hustler weren’t safe since some of them had ads for local phone sex lines or services and the ads in question would use local girls for promotion.

    3. It is easy to be committed to justice when the injustice is done to puppies and unicorns. The nut cutting comes in when the victim is someone everyone hates. Sorry, but even the unsympathetic still deserve justice just as much as anyone else.

      1. Yes. Justice. And I think he got it. I am not a brain police person by any means. But I prefer to save my concerns for the Oh and Sandman scenarios above. If they exist.

        1. He didn’t get justice. No way should the mere possession of that stuff justify a worse sentence than actually molesting kids. That is not justice.

          1. I think maybe we disagree on what punishment a child molester should get.

            1. They get what they get. Hanging this guy doesn’t make it any better. And further, if you think everyone guilty or associated with crime X should be killed, then you are just a fanatic and not interested in justice.

              1. Not “everyone”.

                1. The funny thing to me is I’m the only person I know who was ever molested, or will admit to it.

                  Yet no one seems to give a fuck what I think.

                  1. If you use the claim that you were molested as a way to shame your opponents and/or lend weight to your viewpoint in real life like you have been doing here, I can understand why others wouldn’t put much stock in your opinions.

                    1. Like I said below, idiots like you have done far more damage to society than the girl who molested me did.

                    2. Also…

                      Can you make an argument that isn’t ad hominem? Or is that all you have now that your pathetic argument has been shredded?

                    3. But seriously Tulpa. It makes sense to ask someone who was molested how they think such people should be punished. You never even had such an experience so you really wouldn’t know how it affected my life or anyone else’s now would you?

                      You can only make assumptions. I have real world experience.

                      I’m not saying your opinion is invalid because of this, but I’m saying I would actually know how it made me feel, now wouldn’t I?

                      Honestly I think she did less damage to me than the kind of of psychological damage it does me now to deal with people like you who believe in neo witch hunts.

                      Also I see you are trying to discredit me as a person again, now aren’t you?

                      Isn’t that ad hominem? It is true I lace my arguments with insults sometimes, but this was mainly after you started attacking my character. So I felt it was fair game at this point. Plus even if I did insult you before then I at least didn’t base my arguments on the insult. You however have two or three times now based your argument purely on discrediting me, after you gave up on actually taking on my logic.

                      Also I assume you’re trying to discredit me here up higher in the comments before people have a chance to scroll down below to see the meat of my arguments. OH oops… making baseless accusations and assumptions like you now… sorry about that!

                    4. (discredit me as a person, and not my arguments)

        2. Trust me, you don’t want this man to get justice.

          If this man and others like him got justice, you and millions of Americans and Britons would be dead.

  15. the familiar argument that “consumers of child pornography drive the market for the production of child pornography

    So what they’re saying is, there are people out there who normally wouldn’t sexually abuse a child, yet they’d do it if you threw some money at them?

    IANACP, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.

    1. Plus, I didn’t see anything in there about him purchasing it. Just possession.

    2. Good point. And someone who wanted to go into the porn business would go into the child porn business and risk life in prison for a few extra bucks? Doubtful to say the least.

      The whole thing is a secret network of these people who trade images. It is not driven by money.

      1. And how do those images come into being in the first place?

        1. Because the sickos that do it love to film themselves doing it. And they also like to see pictures of other people doing it, so they use the pictures they make to trade with others.

          It is a market driven by sickness not money Tulpa.

          1. The question isn’t whether the market can only be driven by profit. It’s whether profit will drive the market given the chance.

        2. Better answer: Because there are some really messed up parents out there. Many of whom have bad addictions or mental health problems. And they are happy to have someone, anyone, “babysit” for free and they don’t ask questions.

          1. OK, so we have someone “babysitting”.

            You’re still not explaining where the pictures come from.

            1. Are you really that stupid?

              1. Nope, I know what you’re saying. I’m just forcing you to state how the photos originate, because much of the confusion Mr Sullum and others are displaying is caused by ignoring those rather unpleasant dots that haven’t been connected.

                1. How are surveillance tapes of 7-11’s being robbed created? I think you’re failing to connect th3 d0tz d00d.

                  1. Are you suggesting that the ones who install the surveillance cameras are complicit with the people who rob the store?

                    1. No but the people who view them on youtube are obviously driving the market for videos of people robbing 7-11’s. Obviously… I mean seriously!

                2. Why yes, you are that stupid. I will treat you with more sympathy (INCIF) in the future.

                  Your attempt to force me to go into the details of my childhood trauma was both inappropriate and ineffective. DOuchebag.

                  1. You mean the childhood trauma you just mentioned with some level of detail on a public blog forum out of the blue?

                    At least your PTSD is highly selective in how it activates.

        3. The vast majority of “child pornography” probably now consists of pictures taken by the victims themselves on their mobile phones. There was also a famous case where a modeling agency in a foreign country had professional quality photographs taken of various models. In that jurisdiction, the resulting images are not considered child pornography, but in the English-speaking nations those in possession of these images have certainly been prosecuted and convicted for possessing them.

    3. Consumers of videos of people robbing 7-11’s drives the market for further abuse of 7-11’s.

      Didn’t you know?

    4. Bullshit.

      Hitmen wouldn’t be killing the people they kill if they weren’t getting paid.

      1. And if we banned the market for murder we wouldn’t have any murders? I think the number of people committing murder because they like it or it feels good or they think the other person needs killing is a whole lot higher than the number of people committing murder for hire.

        Same here. Maybe there is someone out there making child porn for the money who would quit if no one bought it. But I am thinking there are a lot more doing it because they like doing it and want to trade it with others who are like minded.

        1. Obviously there are contract murders despite the presence of laws against this. However, if there weren’t laws against conspiracy to murder, there would be more contract murders. If you’re suggesting otherwise the burden is on you.

          1. Your analogy doesn’t fit. The guy who has the porn isn’t conspiring to make it. There are laws against making and conspiring to make child porn. The proper analogy is people murdering someone and then selling the snuff film. Is the demand for snuff films driving the murder rate? No

            Same here.

            1. The analogy isn’t perfect, but the commonality is that all along the chain between the abuser and the possessor there are mutual exchanges of value. Plus, it would be nearly impossible to prosecute anyone, even one who had directly paid for the records of child abuse, if they could just claim they downloaded it from somewhere for free.

              Murder is a lot harder to get away with than child sexual abuse. You can’t hide the fact that someone was killed. And of course, snuff films are illegal also.

              1. When did snuff films become illegal?

          2. Uh, no, Tulpa. You’re claiming contract murders would increase without conspiracy laws. Burden of proof is on you to prove the rate would increase.

      2. You’re ignoring the more important point… what about the poor convenience stores and banks who are being abused over and over when someone watches them get sodomized on youtube?

        1. I’m not making that argument.

          I agree that the idea that someone watching a picture of a child being abused constitutes abusing them again is ridiculous.

          1. Could have fooled me.

  16. First off, I’m kind of against the “child pornography” terminology since it hides information, and blurs the lines between recordings of child sexual abuse and consensually-filmed pornography involving adults.

    It’s pretty ridiculous, particularly for libertarian market devotees, to claim that recording child sexual abuse is the one area of human endeavor that doesn’t respond to a profit motive. Someone is abusing children and recording this abuse, and if it seems unlikely they’re risking prosecution for a few bucks, how much more unlikely is it that they’re risking prosecution for free, which appears to be Mr Sullum’s conjecture.

    1. Someone is abusing children and recording this abuse, and if it seems unlikely they’re risking prosecution for a few bucks, how much more unlikely is it that they’re risking prosecution for free, which appears to be Mr Sullum’s conjecture.

      Tulpa did you take stupid pills today? You may be shocked by this, but devient perverts are motivated by something beyond money. Why do you think people risk prosecution to look at the stuff? For money? If you are molesting a child, you are already risking spending the rest of your life in prison. Filming it and sending it off on the internet in return for pictures of other devients doing the same thing doesn’t add anymore risk.

      You are truely a moron of the highest order if you think anyone is out there molesting kids in hopes of profit rather than to fulfill their sexual perversions.

      1. You may be shocked by this, but devient perverts are motivated by something beyond money.

        And soup kitchen workers are motivated by something other than money. However, if everyone stopped paying for food to be prepared for them, there would be far less food preparation.

        Filming it and sending it off on the internet in return for pictures of other devients doing the same thing doesn’t add anymore risk.

        Yeah, I’m the one taking stupid pills.

        Do you take pictures of yourself going 20 mph over the speed limit and blowing through red lights and send it to anonymous strangers?

        You are truely a moron of the highest order if you think anyone is out there molesting kids in hopes of profit rather than to fulfill their sexual perversions.

        Amazing, we’ve found one area where the profit motive can’t encourage behaviors. I guess Adam Smith was wrong then.

        1. Why are these motives mutually exclusive? I’m sure there are people in the world so evil as to produce child pornography for money as opposed to their own sexual gratification. Just as the existence of a community of child molesters producing pornography for their own use, that John describes, is well-documented. It’s just a probable that there exist people who produce these images for both monetary gain and to fulfill their own deviant desires.

          1. Well the point is that if you cut off the profit you prevent at least some instances of abuse. I’m not claiming you’re going to render the world sexual abuse-free.

            1. Then why not just make purchasing it illegal then instead?

              Also see my reply below to your other comment…

              1. Because then the prosecution has to prove it was purchased, which will be essentially impossible.

                1. So then they’ll have to prove their innocence instead?

                  Gotta crack a few eggs to make an omlet, eh?

                  Even though there have been cases where people have planted CP on people’s PCs and reported them for revenge? And even considering they have charged people for deleted files on their hard drives?

                  1. I’m not particularly concerned about preserving the ability of pervs to get their rocks off to pictures of kids being abused. If there’s a legitimate public safety interest that becomes unworkable if that “freedom” is respected, then I’m totally ok with not respecting it.

                    I would favor having an affirmative defense (ie, preponderance of the evidence) available that (a) the acts recorded were legal where they occurred, or (b) the source of the records of sexual abuse received absolutely no benefit from the possessor.

                    The risk of planting evidence is present in any crime investigation. Planting a murder weapon in someone’s car is probably even easier than stuffing files into their computer without their consent.

                    1. But then that requires someone actually commit murder first themselves or be directly involved in the murder.

                      In the case of planting CP this isn’t the case. It is apparently easily available on The Onion Router… so again your analogy doesn’t make sense.

                      Murder weapons can’t be downloaded easily and replicated over and over and over again.

        2. —“You are truely a moron of the highest order if you think anyone is out there molesting kids in hopes of profit rather than to fulfill their sexual perversions.”—

          If the only definition of profit is cash, then you are probably correct, But a barter economy also generates “profits” in the form of the additional material you can trade for.

          So, I would say yes, there is some profit motive in addition to the gratification motive.

          1. Not really… read my below arguments…

            1. A market can be cash based or barter based. Just because some people get something for free doesn’t mean that no market exists.

              1. But most people in possession of it aren’t contributing in any way to the abuse and in no way are fueling new stuff from being made because they have no way to pay for it via money or barter.

                Other people in this thread have raised further issues with your argument as well.

                1. Rather the producer has no way to collect their money and they have no way to create barter without putting themselves at high risk also. The vast majority of consumers aren’t going to do that.

                  You can also argue by restricting the supply you are only increasing the demand for new stuff to be made. I think the law actually backfires in this way.

                  1. —“But most people in possession of it aren’t contributing in any way to the abuse and in no way are fueling new stuff from being made because they have no way to pay for it via money or barter.”—

                    Not so. It’s the free-rider option. Other people are producing it and paying for it. Some can get it free. The vast majority may get it free. That doen’t mean that no market exists.

                    —“Rather the producer has no way to collect their money and they have no way to create barter without putting themselves at high risk also.”—

                    Many things are inherently high risk, but markets for them exist all the same.

                    —“You can also argue by restricting the supply you are only increasing the demand for new stuff to be made.”—

                    Not so. What you increase is the price of what is available, not demand. The potential price of CP is already very high, witness the fact that some market still exists with the current laws.

                    1. “Not so. What you increase is the price of what is available, not demand. The potential price of CP is already very high, witness the fact that some market still exists with the current laws.”

                      If it is freely available online then how does it even have a price? Also you do increase demand for new stuff to be made because people may not easily be able to obtain old stuff which might have satiated them otherwise.

                      The main problem with your argument is that you are still punishing people who have in no way contributed to the production or supported it in any way.

    2. It does respond to a profit motive, but it is much more complex than that.

      If the law treated it as evidence, and there’s no COPYRIGHT protection for it. Then how in the hell do you actually make money off of it? Some pedo is just going to leak it and then the WHOLE WORLD will know what happened.

      Why are you even encouraging people to destroy the evidence of a crime?

      What if that lady who’s dad was a judge… who recorded the physical abuse… what if that had been sexual abuse? Would she have been charged with creation, distribution, and possession of child porn?

      How is it any different than saying possession of war footage or bank robberies should be illegal?

      1. If the law treated it as evidence, and there’s no COPYRIGHT protection for it. Then how in the hell do you actually make money off of it?

        I’m unaware of adult Internet pornographers ever suing one of their customers for redistributing their productions, yet they still make money hand over fist.

        Plenty of indie bands still make money without enforcing copyrights on their music, too. Copyright only becomes a necessity for profit if your content is widely and openly distributed, as is unlikely to happen with pornography of any sort due to social stigmas.

        Would she have been charged with creation, distribution, and possession of child porn?

        Not if she had turned it over immediately to the authorities.

        How is it any different than saying possession of war footage or bank robberies should be illegal?

        There isn’t a market for bank robbery footage, and even if there were, bank robbery footage can easily be simulated without an actual bank robbery taking place. Not so with child sexual abuse.

        1. There isn’t a market for child porn either though… unless you live in Russia where CREATING nude photos of underage girls isn’t illegal. Plus what if those families would have starved otherwise without the money, what is better? Nude photos, or starvation and no education?

          Also your analogies don’t make sense because those people know who the bands are and go to their concerts and pay them in other ways. How do you pay someone with no paper trial or without even knowing them if it was with cash?

          There’s no way a producer of child porn could possibly hope to make good money without the risk of SERIOUS prison time and extreme public outrage. They would be trying to keep as anonymous as possible, thus trading it with other people trying to remain anonymous for no money at all. If not just posting it everywhere to try to “one up” other sick fucks.

          If you’re so concerned about the profit motive, then just make purchasing it illegal?

          1. Plus what if those families would have starved otherwise without the money, what is better? Nude photos, or starvation and no education?

            The kids aren’t competent to make that decision, and the parents have no more right to make it for them than they have to cut off their kids’ toes and sell them.

            Plus, in many cases we’re not talking about mere nude photos, we’re talking about depictions of sexual acts.

            1. We’ll agree to disagree on the first point… but do you have any rebuttal to the rest of my argument?

              It would be almost impossible in the digital age for someone to make money off of it if the acts depicted and the creation of it is illegal.

              1. I don’t see how the illegality of the act itself makes it harder to make a profit.

              2. If you’re factoring in the risk of prosecution as a “cost”, then how much more foolish would it be to distribute them for free?

                1. It is less foolish because of the paper trail and the fact you’d have to reveal yourself to take cash as well.

                2. Not all markets are the same, you can’t compare everything to the illegal drug market. It just doesn’t make sense in the case of CP.

        2. Then you totally missed the last round of torrenting busts. A large portion of them were for legal adult porn.

          1. That too… lots of porn producers sue people over copyright infringement. I have no idea where Tulpa gets the idea this never happens.

            1. Doesn’t really change my point. It ain’t copyright fears that prevent redistributing of legit porn, it’s social stigma.

              1. What? How is it any different than being sued for other legal media? The legal costs are far worse than any social stigma. I don’t know the name of a single person busted for that only that it happens. They don’t post their names on the internet.

                1. I’m certainly not worried about the social stigma of posting legit porn.

              2. Hey, who moved me?

  17. Would she have been charged with creation, distribution, and possession of child porn?

    Not if she had turned it over immediately to the authorities.

    That would be a hell of a gamble. Those are the same authorities, after all, who threatened to make possession of a yearbook a felony.

    I’d get a lawyer to cut an immunity deal for me before I did anything other than completely sterilize a computer that had child porn on it.

    1. I remember the yearbook story, but I don’t recall any authorities actually threatening to prosecute for possession. You got a link for the latter “fact” or are you just embellishing?

      1. My recollection is that threats were made, viz., if you don’t get a sticker to cover up the frisky picture, etc.

        1. The fun, if you may recall, was around a tortured interpretation of the statute that permitted prosecution of kids for possession, but not prosecution of the school officials for producing and distribution.

  18. Research indicates that child porn consumers, like fans of violent movies, do not necessarily copy what they see.

    True, but in the violent movie, after the violent scene is over, the director yells “Cut!” and all the actors wash off their fake blood and collect their big paychecks. Not so for the little kid with the sore ass.

    Still and all, though, this sentence is ludicrous. As John noted at 3:24pm, this is probably just a case of a judge preening in preparation for bigger and better things.

  19. And of course, if these pictures etc are being produced so that they can be traded with other “producers” in return for their “productions”, then that’s really just profit motive at work in an alternative currency.

    1. But then how are people who just download it without contributing to any abuse harming anyone?

      1. If they can prove that they returned nothing of value to the source they got it from, then I would let them walk.

        If you can’t prove that, don’t download the stuff in the first place.

        1. Uhm… but that’s a case where someone has to prove their innocence. I assume you agree with the whole “crack a few eggs to make an omlet” thing then, eh?

          Also they have charged people plenty of times for accidentally downloading and the jury just doesn’t believe the prosecutors would do such a thing because they are naive individuals such as yourself.

          1. I assume you agree with the whole “crack a few eggs to make an omlet” thing then, eh?

            In some cases yes. Anyone who’s ever had to lay off people in the private sector does too.

            In my view, there’s a sliding scale of how much certain freedoms must be protected in the face of a threat to public safety and basic governmental and societal functions. Life and limb are at the extreme protection end of the scale, freedom of movement and political speech is pretty close to that, etc. Getting your rocks off to child abuse is pretty comfortably at the other end which should get least protection.

            1. How does laying people off equate with jailing innocent people?

              1. Not equation, analogy.

                Laying people off may not be coercive in the strictest sense, but it does fuck them up in practice.

                1. But it is a shitty analogy. It just isn’t the same. No one is using force when you lay off someone. The law is using force against someone who may have never actually harmed anyone.

                  1. Force isn’t the only factor, since I’m not talking about legal issues. Laying someone off does harm them.

                    1. But you know that kind of argument doesn’t apply to libertarian ideology then. You have to be violating someone else’s rights for it to be a crime…

                      Or are you saying you should be prosecuted for laying people off? Because it does harm them, as you say.

                    2. Once again, I’ll note that analogies are not equations, since you’re having trouble with this distinction.

                    3. But as I said again, it is a shitty analogy. Sorry you’re having trouble with this distinction.

                      Is this really the best you can do Tulpa?

          2. Oh, and I have a pretty damn negative view of prosecutors, thanks very much for assuming.

            Just because I want to make sure it’s possible to prosecute wrongdoers doesn’t mean I’m in love with prosecutors.

            1. Even if it means prosecuting people who have done no wrong?

              Apparently so.

              1. If you lend your car to a stranger who, unbeknownst to you, uses it as a getaway car for his bank robbery cum murder, you’ve done nothing *wrong*.

                However, you’re going to have to prove that you weren’t involved or else you go to jail.

                1. This is the only good point you’ve had all day.

                  But I will say that scenario is certainly a whole lot less likely than the CP thing. You would know if you ever had to moderate an anonymous image or message board. People use TOR and proxies to post CP all the time, and in the process of seeing it to delete it I’m in possession of it.

                  Because of morons who write stupid laws and support stupid laws such as yourself I can be tormented by people who are literally so anonymous the FBI has never been able to trace them and they will never go to jail, while me the law abiding citizen has to clean up their mess and worry that I might be prosecuted for having unintentionally downloaded some fucking CP just viewing an otherwise perfectly legal site.

                  Do some research on The Onion Router and you will see your absurd law which has been a slippery slope to thought crime as in the Handley case, is completely unenforceable because of modern technology.

                  1. Also… I shouldn’t say “good”, but rather “not complete garbage”. As if you were really a libertarian you would believe that the state has no right to use force against someone who has not violated someone else’s natural rights.

                  2. I’m not defending the ridiculous state of current recorded child sexual abuse laws. There should be safe harbor provisions for people who can prove they deleted immediately or were simply delivering evidence to the authorities. The sentences should not be as severe as they are (or at least not on a per picture basis).

                    My issue is with the idea, which I had no idea was this prevalent here, that watching recordings of child sexual abuse is some sort of fundamental right. Nuh-uh. You play in that kind of muck, don’t cry innocence afterward.

                    1. “My issue is with the idea, which I had no idea was this prevalent here, that watching recordings of child sexual abuse is some sort of fundamental right. Nuh-uh. You play in that kind of muck, don’t cry innocence afterward.”

                      That’s like saying the government should produce and provide you with child porn.

                      No one is making that argument. That’s a strawman and you know it.

                      I guess everyone who watched that video of the girl whose father beat her should be arrested for contributing to child abuse as well?

                      They don’t have the right to it, but they have the right to simply possess it without you making undue assumptions about their reasons for doing so and basically making them have to prove their innocence.

                      What if it was morbid curiousity? What about someone who was sexually abused who was trying to learn and understand the phenomena? Does it not bother you that no one can really research the subject and possibly find new ways of combating it because of your stupid shortsightedness and inability to admit when you’re wrong?

                      You do realize no one can actually do a study on child porn because researching it is illegal? Is that really okay?

                      As someone who was molested as a young child I find your view extremely offensive. Because you would waste resources going after people who have done no one harm, and are satiating their desires in a safe way while possibly incentivizing people to destroy evidence which might have been used to prosecute someone who DID actually hurt a child.

                      You’re still trying to save your totally torn apart, piece of shit argument? Really? Seriously?

                    2. Man, this place is hopping with molestation victims who are so scarred by the experience that they only pull it out to give their arguments extra weight.

                    3. And stating this helps your argument, how?

                2. However, you’re going to have to prove that you weren’t involved or else you go to jail.

                  Fucking burden of proof, how does it work?

                  1. Beyond a reasonable doubt, iirc.

                    Reasonable doubt is gone when your license plate and vehicle are placed at the scene parked outside, and driving away with the robbers after they kill the witnesses, and you have no idea who you claim was driving the car.

                    1. Wow. So how is this analogous to finding CP on someone’s computer?

        2. Then the government should have to prove that they did contribute to the “exchange”, i.e. that they produced some child porn. Which then makes possession essentially legal and the production illegal. And this guy is let go unless they prove he produced any.

  20. Thank goodness it is near impossible to hack into politicians’ computers and plant this stuff. Imagine how quickly the laws would change if a few judges and congressmen were hauled in on such charges.

    1. Except that you’re discounting how laws only apply to little people.

      1. I don’t know, the crusade against kiddie porn is so completely insane that politicians might well be destroyed by it, provided that the proof was clear. I mean, when the victims of child pornography are actually tried for being involved, it’s pretty clear that you’re dealing with a movement that’s completely lost the plot.

  21. There is also the additional problem of the criminals’ risk assessments and the concept of deterrence. One reason that a murderer gets a harsher sentence than a guy who punches someone else in the face is that while we don’t want any harm done, we don’t want anyone escalating to killing. If the possession of child porn gets the same sentence as the kidnap, rape and murder of a child, why should any miscreant stop with half-measures? It would be like giving 25 years for both armed robbery and shoplifting.

    1. That’s a very good point.

      Although from a philosophical position, I question how ownership of an object could constitute a crime. They’ve extended these laws to include drawings, animations, and digital manipulations that don’t involve actual children.

      1. except case law does not support those laws.

        period.

        child porn, in order to be illegal under the 1st MUST involve actual children. this has already been adjudicated. for example, computer simulated child porn is not illegal.

  22. Why doesn’t the gov’t register all the child porn that was produced before it became illegal, and make it available to everyone at cost?

    1. Come to think of it, why not do the same for all kid porn that has been seized by police since it became illegal?

    2. Because that is a stupid idea that makes no fucking sense at all? I dunno? I’m assuming you’re trolling or trying to make some point I’m totally missing.

    3. Because that is a stupid idea that makes no fucking sense at all? I dunno? I’m assuming you’re trolling or trying to make some point I’m totally missing.

      1. If the object of the law is to prevent molest’n of children, then that would do it by helping satisfy the demand without increasing the supply. No more porn would be produced than already had been, and of course the law can’t do anything about what’s already been done. The consumption of child pronography per se doesn’t seem to hurt anyone, but it does drive prod’n, and this would cut the link between prod’n and consumption.

        1. Amnesty doesn’t stop the activity in question, it only encourages the practitioners to hold out until the next amnesty.

          There are other historical examples of this phenomenon that I shouldn’t mention in current company.

          1. What does amnesty have to do with this? What are you even saying?

          2. No amnesty involved. Production is still a crime, as is possession of kid porn that wasn’t laundered thru those channels.

            1. The problem with this is that it doesn’t solve the problem that if possession of new evidence is illegal then it encourages the destruction and encourages people to hide evidence which might otherwise make it to authorities who could use it to track down the children involved and those responsible for creating it.

              It also prevents any private groups from tracking down victims the same way.

              You should just give up on the idea that possession increases demand because it just doesn’t. It probably just satiates demand.

              1. Plus even if their argument did make sense… it has disadvantages that overshadow any advantages it might have. Mainly it makes it less likely that the people involved, both abusers and children will be identified and tracked down.

            2. Do you know what amnesty is?

              1. Do you know that the suppression of evidence of crimes doesn’t help in stopping them or preventing them? But actually only makes the whole problem worse?

  23. Oh then… I guess you have a point.

    Sorry. I was pissy from having to argue with morons…

  24. Wow. I was wondering where this otherhmm came from, and a google search for “otherhmm site:reason.com” reveals that he’s something of a single-issue commenter.

    Obviously doesn’t mean otherhmm is wrong or anything, but it does elucidate where he’s coming from. I will definitely bow to his expertise about hanging out in digital porn nexuses of questionable provenance after reading some samples of his previous commentary here.

    otherhmm|7.31.10 @ 11:51PM|#

    What’s wrong with having sex with 14 year olds? I wouldn’t quite consider many 14 year olds “kids” either.

    followed by this little progression:

    otherhmm|8.2.10 @ 5:52AM|#

    I have two okay ideas for alternative standards:

    If you can articulate to authorities why you were *not* taken advantage of… they should drop the case against the defendant… that simple imo.

    OR

    Do something like some states have where a parent/legal guardian can get a court order blocking them from having sex with their “child” legally, past the age of 13 or so until 16-18…
    otherhmm|8.2.10 @ 6:05AM|#

    Or how about this:

    Alleged “victim” may at any time create a notarized letter commanding the court to drop the charges, and they must comply. Also, enabling them to have defendant released if they have already been tried and convicted of statutory rape and have them removed from any registries.

    Or enable the person sign papers at the courthouse freeing defendant from further prosecution in any sex crimes against said person as well as above said release/removal from registry for said crime.

    State should provide assistance in filling out any paper work needed.
    otherhmm|8.2.10 @ 6:11AM|#

    also.. expungement
    otherhmm|8.2.10 @ 6:49AM|#

    If you are emotionally mature enough to request the court to not prosecute the defendant in writing then I’d say you are emotionally mature enough to consent to sex.
    otherhmm|8.2.10 @ 6:57AM|#

    I’ll name my law the “Forgiveness Act” in honor of bitch in above video.

    1. And now he reveals that he’s a molestation victim. Strange positions for a molestation victim to be so adamant about, but maybe.

      1. So now I’m a liar Tulpa?

        So you think someone who actually was molested would not have strong feelings on this subject?

        I have also commented with other handles on many other subjects on this blog including economics.

        Now you’re attacking me personally. If that is the best you can do, you really don’t have an argument.

        Ad hominem?

        1. Whenever an anonymous Internet commenter states something about their personal/professional life that’s both highly convenient for their argument and totally unverifiable, I assume it’s bullshit. And here, it’s doubly suspicious because while I would certainly expect a victim of child sexual abuse to have an emotional reaction to this topic and the sex-with-minors stuff I quoted from before, it’s essentially the opposite of the one you’re going gangbusters promoting.

          If it’s not bullshit in this case, that’s unfortunate. But for you to play the victim and bring it up in this context is quite inappropriate even if it is true.

          1. So you’re using ad hominem, now that you have no real argument?

            I’ll have you know I have never had sex with someone younger than me. I have also never been convicted of any crimes.

            I was molested by a teenage girl when I was about 5-6 years old. If you’d like me to tell the story in explicit detail I can.

            But I really shouldn’t even be wasting my energy when someone gives up on attacking my argument and instead attacks me personally. It is a sign of someone desperate. Seems you must feel guilty about something… ever send someone to jail for CP?

            Worried you might have sent someone to jail that never harmed anyone else? Feeling guilty?

            See, I can make bullshit assumptions and ad hominem attacks too!

            1. Let me add that…

              When a 14-15 (can’t remember her exact age now) year old girl molested me when I was 6, it is hard for me to take seriously that 14 year olds can’t consent to sex.

              So yeah, I’ll gladly make the argument that AoC laws should be set much lower or one should implement the above suggested tweaks to AoC laws to prevent non-abusive & healthy relationships from being torn apart by the unthinking juggernaut that is the state.

              1. Really, I don’t care about your personal life, whether your claims are true or false. If true, that’s unfortunate, but you have to get over it rather than expecting everyone to bow and scrape and apologize because of it.

                It has no bearing on the argument at hand. I was merely attempting to understand why you’re so vociferous about this.

                1. I’m not asking anyone to bow and apologize for it fuckface!

                  If it had no bearing on the argument at hand, then why did you even respond to it?!

                  1. “It has no bearing on the argument at hand. I was merely attempting to understand why you’re so vociferous about this.”

                    That’s why I FUCKING BROUGHT IT UP ASSHOLE.

                    1. You know what. I’ll tell you something else. People like you, are far worse than that teenage girl who touched my penis when I was 6 years old.

                      You’ve done far more damage to society than she ever did.

                2. I enjoy witchhunts!

    2. Have any issues with these arguments?

      Don’t think it might not help keep a few innocent romeo and juliet type romances from being crushed by the sledgehammer that is the state because dumbfucks like you are writing laws?

    3. Have any issues with these arguments?

      Don’t think it might not help keep a few innocent romeo and juliet type romances from being crushed by the sledgehammer that is the state because dumbfucks like you are writing laws?

  25. I was arrested and charged for this offense six years ago at the age of 18. I had been looking at child pornography for at least a couple of years before that and regular porn since I was 12 or 13. I escaped, thanks to a good lawyer, with probation. However, I would gladly have done a year or two in the pen (assuming I wasn’t killed or horribly maimed) in exchange for having my record wiped clean. It is utterly impossible to find a job in the private sector with a conviction of this nature showing up on the ubiquitous seven-year background check. Luckily I am blessed enough to have secured a job as a PhD student at a top university but am contemplating moving to Britain so I can be paid a decent salary and get married.

    Any questions?

    1. Thank you for your testimonial.

      You should realize that you’re posting on the Internet and no one is likely to believe personal information from commenters whose claims are unverifiable, which is all of us.

      1. Yes. Everyone should be assumed a liar.

        1. Especially if they don’t agree with you.

      2. Fair enough.

    2. Why the hell would you want to move to Britain? Britain is even worse than the United States.

      Try … most anywhere else. Latin America, Russia, Iran … hell, North Korea is more sane than most English-speaking countries.

  26. RIP 50 CENT

  27. One of the primary problems I see with these laws has to do with unintentional posession of CP.

    When I was much younger, I tended to obtain porn via p2p networks. Standard procedure – go to search page, input search term, click on first result, scroll to bottom of results hold ctrl & shift, click last result (selecting everything) – click download.

    Once downloads are complete, begin sorting – it was damn near guaranteed that I’d not get through 15 images (or whatever) before running into something labelled something like ’18yo co-ed – Georgia State – Unbelievable’ and have it turn out to be some sick shit featuring an under 16yo.

    Unintended crap worries the hell out of me.

  28. It’s unfortunate that people get confused between “pedophile” and “child molester”. It’s like if I watched porn of a really attractive woman, I’m not about to run outside and rape the first one I see.

    Now, I find child pornography sick, but I don’t think it deserves this kind of punishment. People who drink and drive get a fine (and little jail time). But he gets a life sentence for pictures? Weird world.

  29. Does Sullum really stand for reform?

    I can agree that a life sentence is excessive punishment for possession of child porn, but I would not be agreeing with Sullum who doesn’t see a rationale for any punishment whatsoever in this case. An hour’s sentence would be excessive if you didn’t see a reason for it.

    Is the current system with its occasional cases of extreme punishment preferable to a society in which child porn is more freely and openly circulated? The thing is, as a society we kind of tried the more permissive route in the 1970’s and public outcry lead to a backlash. Most people who lived through those years don’t want to see them return, at least not with respect to kiddie porn. Many people, though Sullum is not among them, feel that children today are still too easily exploited and abused. Hey, don’t look now, but I think I see 454 pieces of evidence to testify to that fact.

    For people who agree with Sullum, as a question of principle, are there any other products that should be legal to possess but illegal to produce? Imagine if we traded legalizing possession of kiddie porn in exchange for gruesome executions of people found guilty of producing kiddie porn. Would such a state of affairs more closely resemble justice than the one we see currently?

    1. I totally disagree with your assertion that child porn was more freely and openly circulated in the 1970s. Quite the opposite is true: its proliferation has been a direct result of the internet and previously had been nothing more than a boutique business.

      Also, Sullum is not saying that simple possession of child porn should have no punishment, although in some countries that is the legal state of affairs. He said quite specifically that he doesn’t know one way or the other.

      1. To take your last point first, Sullum criticizes a couple of arguments in favor of punishing kiddie porn and says he isn’t sure they justify criminalizing possessing kiddie porn. I said he didn’t see a rationale for criminalizing possession of kiddie porn, which is an entirely fair and honest reading of his argument. Does Sullum give us any indication that he sees a reason for criminalizing possession of kiddie porn? Show me where he does in this article or any article and I’ll consider retracting or amending my comment.

        Kiddie porn was a “boutique business” that was entering into mass circulation in the 1970’s. Think of Eva Ionesco, born in 1965. At age 11 she appeared in the Italian edition of Playboy Magazine. She appeared in the Spanish edition of Penthouse just two years later.

        Or remember the controversy around the film Pretty Baby by Loius Malle.

        Or think of the advertising campaign for Love’s Baby Soft (“Because innocence is sexier than you think”). Erotic images of children were hardly confined to the nether regions of the world of print capitalism in the 1970’s.

        At the heyday of the sexual revolution many young people didn’t pay much attention to child pornography as a cultural phenomenon or as a political issue. In the early 1970’s, as I understand it, there were laws against distributing child pornography in many jurisdictions, but not laws against possessing child pornography. Nevertheless child pornography was being produced and distributed in quantities that, when revealed in newspapers, shocked and concerned the general public.

        This all fed into a general zeitgeist. People questioned whether the sexual revolution had gone too far. People wanted sexual liberation and moral liberation, but many people, especially young parents, were creeped out by kiddie porn.

        Whatever the true economic facts of the history of the kiddie porn industry are, what is undeniable is that the issue of kiddie porn came to public consciousness in a big way during the 1970’s. People saw with their own eyes erotic images of naked children in magazines, in movies, and in advertisements. They read about kiddie porn in newspapers and saw stories about it on the television news. As a result of public outcry, possession of child pornography, which used to be legal, soon became criminalized. I suspect penalties for distribution and production of child pornography became more severe as well.

    2. “Many people … feel that children today are still too easily exploited and abused.”

      … by the child abuse industry, which includes therapists, child protective services, law enforcement, and various
      other “charities” and government agencies.

      If you want to stop child abuse, empower kids to make their own decisions – and stop abusing children!

  30. How in the world do you people respond to these stories so quickly?

    I saw this on Google News the same day it was posted but still missed the main discussion. It seems like 90% of the messages are posted by 5 hours after publishing.

    1. So sorry old man. Wwe’ll slow down just for you.

  31. Wonderful MP4 to imovie converter on Mac

  32. By this feminist rationale, we should really be punishing the SINGLE MOTHERS who produce the vast majority of felons who end up behind bars: http://goo.gl/f4pXo

  33. Wow, a piece on paedophillia that doesn’t surmise to “lets hang them all.”

    People really need to calm down and get some perspective on this issue. Mob vigilantism solves nothing.

  34. Total bullshit. The judge needs to be removed from office and a bucket of urine thrown in his face. This makes me ashamed to be an American. These images are all over the net. The guy didn’t do anything to harm anyone.

  35. thank you a lotsssssssssssssssssss

  36. I only read 3/4 of the thread so maybe someone else brought it up already….

    If the guy doesn’t deserve life for possession he certainly does for being monumentally stupid.

  37. my roomate’s sister makes $68 every hour on the computer. She has been without a job for 6 months but last month her pay was $8123 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it on this web site doiop.com/hzjnom

  38. my roomate’s sister makes $68 every hour on the computer. She has been without a job for 6 months but last month her pay was $8123 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it on this web site bit.ly/re2IpS

  39. my roomate’s sister makes $68 every hour on the computer. She has been without a job for 6 months but last month her pay was $8123 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it on this web site 133t.us/ab

  40. It seems we are not far off the day when crimes against political correctness are more serious than crimes against people.

  41. It seems we are not far from the day when crimes against political correctness are more serious than crimes against people

  42. This man would have absolutely gotten a lighter sentence if he had actually molested children than viewed these pictures. The mandatory minimum for possession of child pornography in federal court is 5 years. Most people convicted of child molestation only get a few years in prison, quite a few get just probation! Wake up! This is insane!

  43. A drunk driver killed my wife and 4yo son on his SEVENTH DUI and got 15 years. He is free now. A guy who looks at pics gets 152? Where is our justice?

  44. OK this is a way too harsh sentence but Reason dropped the ball. The main argument against child porn is that people who pay for it or contribute to the producers’ ad revenue contribute to a market for it and that leads to more child being molested for profit.

    1. No, that argument just doesn’t apply when you download it for free off of the internet and things like the onion router exist.

      1. Yeah you get it for free but the site hosting it could still get ad revenue. So it still drives a market for it.

        1. Hahahaha.

          What ad provider would actually pay out to someone hosting child porn?

          1. Not to mention no one is advertising on .onion sites.

  45. There are some important points being missed here…first, child pornography is any image of someone under 18, the law does not specify the age. So, possession of child porn could be a 19 year old looking at porn of 16 or 17 yr olds. Much different than “kiddie porn.” Second, in the State of Florida child pornography includes computer generated images – so no real victim…none. Third the law does not specify a difference in punishment for severity so a possession charge wields the same sentence as a manufacturing charge. That would be the same as charge a guy that has a couple of joints in his pocket the same as the leader of the drug dealing ring. No one believes that this crime should not have punishment but life sentence? Also, remember this all sex offenders, regardless of crime in Florida, receive a life sentence on the registry. Do we really think that a 19 yr old looking at dirty pictures of 16-17 years olds should have their life destroyed?

  46. dunphy – in Fla generated images including cartoons are child porn

  47. so if i watch someone kill someone else, by the action of me watching the person get killed i automatically am involved in the killing by watching it or just because i watched a murder online im creating a blackmarket for more similar crimes. LOL

  48. A life sentence is certainly harsh when even a child molester would almost surely get a lighter sentence. Then again, a child molester who takes images of the act and distributes them will also get the child pornography charge. But I believe “mere viewing” certainly should be a grievous crime for two reasons. 1: The viewers make the market for the distribution of such things. 2: What is being viewed is the rape of a human being. Note that most images of murder are not available for general public consumption either, unless the crime happened in a very public manner. Why should images of the private violation of a human being be open to public inspection? That child has to continue living in this world and what was taken from them by force should be illegal to possess and distribute. However, I am speaking of actual pedophilia, which is always rape. The law does need to come to grips with what to do when teenagers take pictures of themselves. It seems ridiculous that a 16 year old can be charged under child pornography laws after nude pictures they took of themselves travel beyond their cell phone. In that case, the inadvertent notoriety would seem to be punishment enough.

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