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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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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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