39 results for month: 01/2014
Ominous BeginningsThe words in the chapel read "Mary console the children of a land sprinkled with blood and tears." My trip to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at Catholic University in Washington, DC was one final stop in a half decade quest to obtain justice for victims of child pornography before the United States Supreme Court. The evening light was just falling over the Capitol and the image of suffering children in a land littered with blood and tears seemed an apt description of the victims we were hoping to vindicate–or at least honestly represent–in a case which has achieved worldwide ...
Sometimes, justice requires being fair even to those who don't deserve it. And justice in this case means rejecting the argument that Paroline must pay for all his fellow criminals.
Wilderness therapy, aimed primarily at adolescents presenting with problem behaviors, includes a range of interventions that incorporate nature and the wilderness as prominent aspects of treatment. In theory, wilderness therapists seek to effect both behavioral and attitudinal changes.In the research literature, many authors distinguish wilderness therapy from other wilderness experience programs by describing wilderness therapy as a licensed program run by licensed professionals involving assessment, treatment planning, and service delivery. Whether this distinction is consistent in the “real world” is another matter. Many self-labeled ...
Last week, I argued before the Supreme Court in Paroline v. U.S. & Amy. As the case caption itself suggests, our criminal justice system is shifting, at least to some modest degree, from a two-sided, "State v. Defendant" model to a three-sided model in which crime victims are free to enforce their own rights. This change is long overdue, as crime victims have their own independent concerns in the process that ought to be recognized.
The impact of the court's decision will be felt far beyond U.S. borders. Individuals consume more than 15 million child sexual abuse images in an international market valued at between $3 billion and $20 billion annually. Due to the rapid proliferation of Internet usage, the child pornography market is projected to continue to grow exponentially.
Child pornography is a growing international scourge. Demand has increased, as have the number of victims and the cruelty of the crimes. Anonymous online sharing has exacerbated the problem, rendering the industry more opaque and prosecution more elusive. The victims of this sordid market need assistance, not legal machinations that impede recovery.
The Supreme Court is weighing how much defendants convicted of possessing images of child pornography should have to pay in restitution to the victims depicted in those images. The case involves a woman known as 'Amy," whose uncle raped her when she was a young girl and circulated photographs of the abuse online. He eventually went to jail, but those photos became among the most widely viewed child porn in the world. Karen Duffin reports on Amy's quest for restitution.
The legal issues in Paroline's case may be complicated, but deciding whom to burden with the task of distributing restitution responsibilities fairly is simple. The bad guys, not the victims or the courts, should bear the burden. Imposing a substantial restitution order on a guy like Paroline will serve as a strong deterrent to others who may be considering becoming involved in the crime. It will also encourage young victims to speak out not only to achieve justice but also to obtain money they desperately need and deserve to help them heal.
But as victims' advocates say, courts have had difficulty interpreting how that statute should be applied, and it was a question the U.S. Supreme Court considered on Wednesday in connection with Amy's case. At stake is the concept of "joint and several liability," in which multiple participants in a crime - in Amy's case, there are perhaps thousands - can be required to pay the entire amount of restitution to a victim, regardless of whether the offender played a large or small role.
Professor Cassell, along with lawyer James Marsh, have pursued many in this illegal marketplace on Amy's behalf, and she has obtained between $1 million and $2 million so far. For them, the enemy is the market itself, and so it makes little sense to apportion damages differently according to the role that was played by a given market participant, or to burden the victim with having to prove how this perpetrator registered this harm.