Jacob Sullum on Unjust Child Porn Penalties

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Amy was eight when her uncle began raping her. He took pictures. Last month the Supreme Court considered what restitution Amy is entitled to collect—not from her uncle but from a man, Doyle Paroline, who downloaded two of those pictures. The potential answers to that question range from zero to $3.4 million. According to The New York Times, the justices seemed "stumped." Jacob Sullum says their confusion reflects a deeper problem with the justification for criminalizing possession of child pornography, an offense for which legislators have prescribed increasingly harsh penalties with little regard to sense or justice.

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