The Expansion of Child Pornography Law

21 New Criminal Law Review, Forthcoming

UNC Legal Studies Research Paper

16 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2018  

Carissa Byrne Hessick

University of North Carolina School of Law

Date Written: April 4, 2018

Abstract

This symposium essay identifies two dramatic expansions of child pornography law: Prosecutions for possessing images of children who are clothed and not engaged in any sexual activity, and prosecutions for possessing smaller portions of artistic and non-pornographic images. These prosecutions have expanded the definition of the term child pornography well beyond its initial meaning. What is more, they signal that child pornography laws are being used to punish people not necessarily because of the nature of the picture they possess, but rather because of conclusions that those individuals are sexually attracted to children. If law enforcement concludes that a person finds an image of a child to be sexually arousing, then these laws can subject that individual to punishment, even though the image would have been perfectly innocuous had it been possessed by someone else.

Keywords: Child Pornography, Criminal Law, First Amendment, Texas, New Jersey

Suggested Citation

Hessick, Carissa Byrne, The Expansion of Child Pornography Law (April 4, 2018). 21 New Criminal Law Review, Forthcoming ; UNC Legal Studies Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3156232

Carissa Byrne Hessick (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina School of Law ( email )

Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States

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