Proximate Cause Necessary for Child Porn Restitution Order - U.S. Second Circuit
U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Proximate Cause Necessary for Child Porn Restitution Order

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that a victim of child pornography can seek restitution from the person who created the image, but not from persons who merely possessed the image.

In other words, the Second Circuit thinks that the perverts who create child porn are more terrible (or at least more directly responsible for harm) than the upright citizens who just view it.

In the case, U.S. v. Aumais, defendant Gerald Aumais challenged the court restitution order in his sentence after pleading guilty to transporting and possessing child pornography. Under the order, Aumais was to pay $48,483 to finance counseling costs of "Amy" one of the victims depicted in the images and videos.

Amy's lawyers have submitted almost 700 federal criminal restitution pleas in pornography collection cases, seeking more than $3 million in each case. They have already recovered $345,000, reports The New York Times.

Aumais challenged the restitution order on the grounds that his possession of the images was not a proximate cause of Amy's loss. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

The court noted that there is a split in the circuits as to whether the government must show that a child pornography victim's losses were proximately caused by a defendant's actions, or whether it is sufficient to show causation generally in order to win a federal restitution order.

If you follow this blog, you know the Second Circuit Court of Appeals marches to its own beat, so you might be as shocked as we were that the court followed the majority of the circuits on this issue, and found that a victim's losses must be proximately caused by the defendant's offense in order to justify a restitution order.

What do you think? Did the court reach the right decision in its foray into the majority in U.S. v. Aumais? Should federal restitution statutes in these cases be narrowly or broadly interpreted given the especially egregious nature of this crime?

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