Restitution for Child Victims Returns to the Supreme Court
Last week, the Marsh Law Firm, along with co-counsel Paul G. Cassell and Carol L. Hepburn, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.
Almost 20 years ago, Congress enacted the Mandatory Restitution for Sexual Exploitation of Children Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2259, to benefit victims of federal child pornography
crimes, including petitioners like Amy and Vicky, whose child sex abuse images are traded and collected over the internet by countless individuals worldwide.
The statute provides in part that a court “shall order restitution” for a victim of any child pornography crime in “the full amount of the victim’s losses.”
Congress defined these losses as including psychological counseling, lost income, attorneys’ fees, child care expenses, as well as “any other losses suffered by the victim as a proximate result of the offense.”
The question presented in this cert petition is whether the Mandatory Restitution for Sexual Exploitation of Children Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2259, excuses a defendant from paying restitution for the itemized loss categories unless there is proof that the victim’s losses were the proximate result of an individual defendant’s child pornography crime.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether or not to grant this petition early next year. If the Court decides to hear the case, oral arguments and a decision are likely this term which ends on October 1, 2013.