District Court: Paroline Factors are at Best Difficult and at Worst Impossible to Calculate

United States District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., in one of the first reported cases since the Supreme Court’s April 23, 2014 decision in United States v. Paroline, illustrates the growing frustration within the federal courts which are struggling to implement the Court’s problematic directive:

For each of the victims, there are well-documented past and future medical and legal needs that can be considered for restitution. Nevertheless, even with the factors provided by the U.S. Supreme Court, this Court has struggled in determining the proper level of restitution from Mr. Crisostomi. In this Court’s opinion, while some of the Paroline factors are determinable with some precision, a number of other factors are virtually unknown and unknowable, regardless of the detail available in the record. For example, how is a district judge to make a “reliable estimate of the broader number of offenses involved” when even the U.S. Supreme Court admits parenthetically that “most of whom will, of course, never be caught, or convicted?” Paroline, 134 S.Ct. at 1728. It appears to this Court that some of the factors the Supreme Court suggests be considered are at best difficult, and at worst impossible to calculate in this case as in most similar cases.

United States v. Crisostomi, CR 12-166-M, 2014 WL 3510215 (D.R.I. July 16, 2014)

This decision, like Chief Judge Anne L. Aiken’s decision earlier this month, highlights the need for Congress to move quickly and decisively to pass the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2014. Mass confusion within the federal courts will add to the pain and despair already experienced by child pornography victims. Justice delayed is justice denied. It’s time to pass the AVA to restore fairness and certainty for the vulnerable child victims of this unending crime.


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