Why are fines and restitution not awarded in every child pornography case?

New York sex abuse victim attorney, James Marsh, shares why fines and restitution are not awarded to victims of child pornography in every single case.

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Most victims of child pornography who are involved in the criminal justice system and we largely deal exclusively with the federal system, are entitled to restitution. As part of the sentencing procedure, there’s also fines that can be imposed and there’s also court costs that can be imposed. And not all of these are imposed in every case; it really depends on how many victims there are and how many victims are seeking restitution. We like to see defendants, many of whom are indigent, that are able to pay a fine those individuals are usually able to pay restitution, to pay compensation to our clients. And so in those cases the courts and the federal law basically says that restitution comes before fines.

So just because a fine hasn’t been paid doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual isn’t going to pay restitution and just because an individual is obligated to pay restitution doesn’t necessarily mean that there are going to be fines imposed. So this is a relatively complicated issue related to the criminal justice system but we can often get the court to waive fines in order to provide restitution. Unfortunately, in a vast majority of cases individual defendants are indigent or don’t have the ability to make any sort of payment to victims. But unfortunately, given the large number of defendants that are out there we can often achieve full compensation and restitution for our clients although it may take several years to do that.

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