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This week, prominent legal fiction writer, John Grisham gave an interview with the press wherein he indicated that the sentences for child pornography in the U.S. were way too harsh. He indicated that American judges had “gone crazy” by locking individuals up for so many years for just viewing child pornographic images. He cited the case of a “law school buddy,” who had received three years imprisonment for straying onto a website with sixteen year old teenage hookers while he was drunk.
Then, Mr. Grisham backpedaled by issuing an apology for his insensitivity and reiterating the refrain of prosecutors that “anyone who harms a child for pleasure… should be punished to the full extent of the law.”
I commend you Mr. Grisham for having the honesty to speak out on an untouchable theme and to tell it how it is.. But then, I fault you for not having the courage to stick to your guns and for issuing such a broad and undeserving apology.
First, as Grisham, stated, the victimization of children is not to be condoned. But the blanket idea that every time a person views any pornographic image that the child is victimized again and again is catchy, but not with any empirical or psychological proof. I have defended the “other victims,” those who like Grisham’s law school buddy, are sent to jail for many years just for being curious and viewing existing websites that contain child imagery. I watched a man go to jail for fourteen years, yes fourteen years, for only downloading child pornography, not manufacturing it nor having direct contact with a child. This man was a successful businessman with no prior record who had his life shattered by the emotional reaction of a federal trial judge.
And there is no empirical proof that viewing child pornography makes an individual more likely to commit crimes against children. This is logical when you think there is no proof that viewing adult pornography makes an individual more likely to commit rape.
Not only the judges, but the legislators who pass these laws have gone crazy and punished the wrong class of offenders. The government should spend its resources going after those individuals, and yes, governments that allow children to be exploited and filmed for the lascivious pleasures of others
Your books, Mr. Grisham, are about educating the public on the legal system. You may have succeeded with your series of popular novels, but you failed by retracting your important comments about child pornography cases.
As criminal defense attorneys in the Law Office of Russell Babcock, we understand the unfairness of child pornography laws, and we have the experience and sensitivity to defend you or your family member if you find yourself facing prosecution for the every growing class of cyber, sex, and pornography laws at the state or federal level.