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More Judges Protest Harsh Child Porn Sentencing Guidelines

November 29, 2010 | Posted In Recent News |

Crimes involving child pornography often come with almost draconian sentences. Now, more and more federal judges are pushing back against such harsh child porn sentencing guidelines, rejecting these sentences outright.

Recently, the second and third circuit courts declared that the current sentencing guidelines for child pornography are seriously flawed.

One of the key flaws with these guidelines is that, very often, they are not commensurate with the nature of the offense. For instance, a person who is convicted of distributing child pornography may face harsher penalties than someone actually involved in sexual conduct with a child.

In fact, some prosecutors have not been averse to using child pornography laws in cases involving “sexting.”  Sexting is the practice of transmitting nude, seminude or explicit images by a teenager to another teenager on a cell phone. Aggressive prosecutors in some states have charged these teenagers under child pornography laws. This has led to a huge outcry from the parents of these teenagers and criminal defense lawyers in New Jersey. Sexting, as defined by these drastic interpretations of child porn laws, seems to have become one of those rare crimes in which both the victim and the perpetrator can actually be the same person.

According to the courts, another main problem is that many of these harsh sentences were imposed by Congress, and not through the normal process, in which the Sentencing Commission proposes changes to sentencing guidelines, which are then approved by Congress.

It's just another example of how important it is that you speak with a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer as soon as you're charged with such crimes.

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