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Dispute Over Child Porn Sentencing Law

Source: Edmonton Journal
By Dan Marries
Date: May 20, 2003

Child Porn Arizona's child pornography possession law, which has been hailed as the nation's harshest, is coming under fire. At issue is whether the state's sentencing ranges are unfair. Selling, downloading, trading or buying child porn is considered as serious a crime in Arizona as molesting a child. Some defense attorneys argue that's too harsh and some Arizona judges agree.
I n the past year eight child porn possession cases have been thrown out in Maricopa County. Four different judges dismissing them because of constitutional questions surrounding the sentencing ranges, "S o someone who looks at a photo can be facing hundreds of years in prison," says Tucson defense lawyer Mike Piccarreta, "Which is the same punishment that's facing a predator who actually acts on his impulses and touches people."
Piccarreta, like other defense lawyers, argues more moderate sentences in other states prove that Arizona's law is out of proportion. He says it needs to be more distinguishable between the two crimes, "N o one is in favor of child pornography photos. No one is in favor of child predators but what I'm saying is you have to distinguish between the severity of the crimes between the predator and the individual whose looking at the photo and the individuals who have inadvertently come across that photo through the Internet or by some other means." Full Story

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