Child PornographySentencing Commission

Changes in Federal Sentencing Guidelines Re: Child Pornography

On April 15, 2016 the U.S. Sentencing Commision voted unanimously to amend various federal sentencing guidelines including some related to child pornography . The final amendments will be submitted to Congress by May 1, 2016 and absent any Congressional action, the amendments will take effect on Nov. 1, 2016.

I thought this news worthy of a mention in this blog since some of the proposed amendments deal with child pornography circuit court conflicts and application issues when federal sentencing guidelines are applied .

Specifically, CP production and distribution guidelines as well as peer-to-peer file sharing programs and networks are mentioned. This will involve changes in level enhancements as well as wording of the guidelines.

Most of us are well aware of the havoc “enhancements” can cause at sentencing. We also know the heartache of someone’s having “unknowingly downloaded CP from a P2P sharefile” and having courts refuse to believe that “unknowingly” was even a possiblity. The change in terminology in the new guidelines will now include the term “unknowingly”.

I don’t know that these changes will do anything retroactively for our loved ones who are already incarcerated, but who knows, retroactive was a big part of drug reform.

This is at least a start in the right direction as far as I’m concerned. The Commission has dragged it’s feet for a good long while when it came to child pornography issues.

Now let’s get them working to abolish the registry.

The Commission’s full report, which is quite lengthy can be found at

2 thoughts on “Changes in Federal Sentencing Guidelines Re: Child Pornography

  • This is an answer to my prayers! so good to see a positive change in these federal sentencing guidelines.

  • Here is an example, true example:
    A young man had been downloading adult porn using file sharing programs, as well as music and books. He came across ‘teen’ porn and was curious. He left his computer up and downloaded files overnight. His computer was observed, by law enforcement, sharing 3 files of underage porn. He was charged with distributing porn and did not even know the files were being shared. He was in possession of 2 files, therefore, charged with 2 counts of possessing underage porn.


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