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7th Circuit: Child porn victims must prove defendant shared images to receive monetary damages

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Two victims who received restitution judgments of $3.367 million and $965,827 must prove the defendant convicted of multiple federal child pornography counts uploaded images of them.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals late Wednesday affirmed the conviction and 30-year sentence of the defendant in U.S. v. Christopher L. Laraneta, 2:10-cr-00013-RL-PRC-1, but the court vacated the restitution order. It said the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in Hammond must first determine whether Laraneta uploaded victim images.

Victims referred to in the opinion as Amy and Vicky have received similar judgments “in literally hundreds of other criminal cases involving pornographic images,” Judge Richard Posner wrote for the unanimous panel. The order also barred Amy and Vicky from intervening at the District Court, saying that allowing it would be “a recipe for chaos.”

The victims were 8 and 10 years old when they were repeatedly raped by a relative who photographed the rapes over a two-year period, and the child porn was disseminated online.

“Images of Amy and Vicky were found on (Laraneta’s) computer, true, but he was only one of an unknown number of viewers. Although he was found guilty of distributing child pornography, there is no evidence referred to in the presentence report — and the judge made no finding — that he distributed any of the images involving Amy or Vicky,” Posner wrote.

“To summarize: The defendant’s prison sentence is affirmed. The calculation of the crime victims’ losses is affirmed too, except that the judge must determine how much to subtract from Amy’s losses to reflect payments of restitution that she has received in other cases. The order of restitution is vacated and the case remanded for a redetermination of the amount of restitution owed by the defendant; that will require, besides the subtraction we just mentioned, a determination whether the defendant uploaded any of Amy’s or Vicky’s images,” Posner wrote.

 “The defendant will not be permitted to seek contribution from other defendants convicted of crimes involving pornographic images of the two girls. And Amy and Vicky will not be permitted to intervene in the district court.”

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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