Law & Order: SVU — Restitution at Last | The Price of a Stolen Childhood
Recently, NBC’s Law & Order: SVU did an episode about the Marsh Law Firm’s effort to obtain compensation for victims of child pornography called Downloaded Child.
You can watch the full Law & Order SVU episode, Downloaded Child, here online (for a limited time).
Read about the real #StolenChildhood, Emily Bazelon’s groundbreaking New York Times Magazine story, The Price of a Stolen Childhood, about our client’s and our firm’s efforts to obtain justice for victims of child pornography.
Advocating for Victims in the United States Supreme Court
On June 27, 2013, the United States Supreme Court agreed to review a case brought by the Marsh Law Firm concerning criminal restitution for victims of child pornography.
The Court agreed to decide “what, if any, causal relationship or nexus between the defendant’s conduct and the victim’s harm or damages must the government or the victim establish in order to recover restitution under 18 U.S.C. 2259,” the Mandatory Restitution for Sexual Exploitation of Children Act of 1994.
The case, Paroline v. United States, arises out of a long-fought and extensively litigated criminal restitution action which began almost four years ago before Judge Leonard Davis in the Eastern District of Texas Tyler Division.
Last January the defendant, Doyle Randall Paroline, filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the Supreme Court seeking review of last year’s momentous Fifth Circuit en banc decision which significantly expanded the rights of child pornography victims to receive criminal restitution.
The case was heard by the Court on Wednesday, January 22, 2014.
For complete details about the case, including the fourteen amicus briefs filed on behalf of victims visit Marsh Law Firm’s Law Reform website.
Advocating for Victims in Court
American Bar Association Journal – Pricing Amy: Should Those Who Download Child Pornography Pay the Victims? (September 1, 2012)
The ABA Journal is read by half of the nation’s 1 million lawyers every month. It covers the trends, people and finances of the legal profession from Wall Street to Main Street to Pennsylvania Avenue
The Marsh Law Firm is featured in the September 2012 issue which highlights our efforts to obtain criminal restitution for victims of child pornography and child exploitation. One of our clients, Amy, has taken the lead in a four year fight which has taken us to every federal district court and every Circuit Court in the nation.
From the ABA Journal:
Amy and her lawyer are, however, fighting back. Her battle is part of a series of cases—now wending their way through the federal courts—trying to help the victims of child pornography by seeking financial restitution, not from the perpetrator but from the untold number of people who subsequently download their pornographic images.
Amy could be considered the leader in this legal trend. Her pictures are among the most widely traded in the underground world of online child pornography.
Under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, the government must notify Amy and other child pornography victims anytime anyone is arrested by federal authorities for possessing their images. Her attorney, James Marsh of New York City, says his office has received at least 1,500 required notices of federal prosecutions for possession of those images. “The day after we were retained in 2008, we had someone open up all these notices she received in the calendar years 2006 and 2007,” Marsh says. “It took two days just to open the envelopes.”
Using the restitution provisions of the Violence Against Women Act, Marsh has begun utilizing the courts to request financial restitution from those convicted of possessing images of Amy’s child sexual abuse.
The novel and controversial requests don’t seek to hold possessors responsible for the original exploitation of Amy. Rather, they seek restitution under VAWA, as authorized by the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, for harm done to Amy each time someone downloads her uncle’s pornographic images of her.
For more information about Amy and the Marsh Law Firm’s groundbreaking effort to obtain criminal restitution, click here for press clipping and news summaries.
Advocating for Victims in Congress
In February 2018, Congress passed The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act. The law amends the Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act, which governs amateur athletics governing bodies, to make it safe and easy for victims to report abuse and mandate oversight to ensure strong sexual-abuse prevention policies are implemented. The bill also reforms Masha’s Law found at 18 U.S.C. 2255 by significantly enhancing federal civil remedies for victims of child pornography. Our firm was instrumental in proposing this important legislation and worked closely with Senator Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] in getting it passed in Congress and signed into law by the president.
In January 2018, after several sincere but ultimately failed attempts to pass legislation to simplify and streamline child pornography victim restitution in the federal courts, the Senate ratified the Amy Vicky & Andy Act by unanimous consent. The AVAA, which is named for the victims in some of the world’s most widely circulated child pornography series, improves the process for seeking restitution from child pornography defendants. The bill also offers victims a monetary assistance alternative from the Crime Victim Fund, requires the appointment of a guardian to act on behalf of the victim in court, and allows victims access to the defendants’ images depicting them.
You can read more about these bills and the Marsh Law Firm’s legislative agenda at our Child Victims website.