Friday, May 30, 2014

Federal Bill SB2301: The Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2014



Congress Proposes to Fix Restitution for Child Pornography Victims, July 25, 2014

Original Post:

This is a follow up to the  May 14, 2014 post when I first found the text to proposed legislation SB2301: “The Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2014” submitted in Response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling in Paroline v. United States. 

I’ve been mulling this bill over for over 2 weeks; I’ve also been checking other “reform” websites and not one has posted about SB2301 as if it doesn’t exist. 

SB2301’s goal is to amend section 2259 of title 18, United States Code. Proponents state that child pornography victims are especially in need of restitution to help put their lives back together and that the victim’s lifetime of losses include:  

1.       medical services relating to physical, psychiatric, or psychological care;
2.      physical and occupational therapy or rehabilitation;
3.      necessary transportation, temporary housing, and child care expenses;
4.      lost income;
5.       attorneys’ fees, as well as other costs incurred; and
6.      any other losses suffered by the victim as a proximate result of the offense 

In simple bullet points, this is what SB2301 would do:

I.      If a victim was harmed by a single defendant, the defendant must pay full restitution for all her losses
II.   If a victim was harmed by multiple individuals, including those not yet identified, a judge can impose restitution on an individual defendant in two ways depending on the circumstances of the case the defendant must pay “the full amount of the victim’s losses” or, if less than the full amount,
at least:
v      $250,000 for production
v      $150,000 for distribution
v      $25,000 for possession  

Federal law already provides a mechanism for creating a restitution payment schedule. 

Multiple defendants who have harmed the same victim and have paid at least those minimum amounts may sue each other to spread the restitution cost (the Supreme Court said in Paroline that this is important)  

So why should we care about this proposal?