Joint Liability and the Case of Amy Unknown

So here we are, another aberration confusing our legal system because of the tangled web of laws. The following is a response to a podcast that can be heard here: http://www.onthemedia.org/story/new-frontiers-child-porn-law/

Here’s a fun fact that was excluded from the podcast: Amy’s rapist paid $6,325 in restitution and served only 10 years in prison due to production of child pornography(Source: http://www.atg.wa.gov/uploadedFiles/Paroline%20v.%20Amy%20Unknown%20and%20United%20States.pdf).

I must be missing something here, charged for production of child pornography? Does that somehow include rape in it? Sound like Amy’s lawyer really dropped the ball on this one. Did they not catch that he distributed this as well? I suppose that revenge (involuntary) porn laws would actually be effective here. Regardless, payment of just therapy seems like pretty meager compensation. What happened to emotional compensation? Especially considering her “condition drastically deteriorated when she learned that her child sex abuse images were widely traded on the Internet,” it’s clear in hindsight that the future wasn’t carefully projected.

I suppose that Amy can’t charge her uncle with the same offense again, but is distribution of child porn a different charge, would that fly? My ignorance of law prevents me from going much more in depth here unfortunately. As far as On The Media‘s coverage of the event, it’s leading me to believe that Amy can quantify her loss as an opportunity loss of income. The more she takes time to seek restitution, wouldn’t her needs increase?

I am not a lawyer, I do not know the exactly how joint and several liability works. “When many people jointly commit a crime…” On The Media reports, joint and several liability may be exercised. To me, they didn’t jointly commit this crime. Did they meet in a basement and all take turns looking at this photo? These persons acted individually, they committed the same crime possibly on a different coast, and yet they are responsible for each other now? As much as I’d love for these people to pay restitution to Amy, I would think that a law should not connect them. But on the other hand, Amy has one emotional burden for the photos being online,and quantified her loss. If she got her full restitution from say five rich individuals, that’s it? Those rich personages paid off the hundreds of others that viewed their photos? That doesn’t seem right. And a manhunt going on for years doesn’t seem very efficient either.

The gentleman at the end of the podcast mentions the current laws in place to limit “the legal system to prevent the abuse of those accused of crimes.” That is a very scary thought, being wrongly accused of something and now in debt having to seek out those that committed a crime like a damn hitman. But doesn’t the joint and several liability clause already make that possible? Paroline already pleaded guilty, so he might get all of this burden, I guess that goes to show you that child porn doesn’t pay (enough restitution).

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