Supreme Court Takes Middle Ground On Restitution For Victims Of Child Porn

People wait in line to enter the U.S. Supreme Court to hear oral arguments April 22, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said a federal law limits how much money victims of child pornography can recover from people who viewed their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Two dissenting justices called on Congress to change the law to benefit victims.

The justices said in a 5-4 ruling that courts can order people convicted of child pornography to pay restitution to their victims, but only to the extent that there is a strong tie between the victim’s losses and the convicts’ actions. In this case, Doyle Randall Paroline was held liable by a federal appeals court for the entire amount of the woman’s losses, though his computer contained just two images of her, among more than 150 illicit photographs.

The case involved a woman known in court papers by the pseudonym “Amy.” Her losses have been pegged at nearly $3.4 million, based on the ongoing Internet trade and viewing of images of her being raped by her uncle when she was 8 and 9 years old.

David Savage has been covering the case for the Los Angeles Times and joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with details.

Guest

  • David Savage, Supreme Court correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.
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