Statement of Senator Dianne Feinstein Before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
Thanks very much Mister Chairman and Senator Hatch and cosponsors.
In looking at this bill, it really is a very significant bill and that is because the Supreme Court in Paroline v. United States held that each possessor of child pornography must pay the victim an amount that comports with the defendant’s relative role in causing the victim’s losses.
None of the possessors can be required to pay for all of the victim’s losses. The opinion then took a position contrary to those of us that advocated something else in the amicus brief.
It’s complicated because Justice Kenendy delivered the opinion on the court in which Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito and Kagan joined. And then Roberts filed a dissenting opinion to which Scalia and Thomas [joined]. That opinion concluded that Congress has provided no valid formula for restitution in the child pornography law. So a child pornography victim can’t receive any recovery.
So this bill is really important in establishing the standards upon which restitution can be made. And I do this just to make the record clear. If more than one person is responsible for harming the victim the bill requires the court to determine the full amount of the victim’s losses and to order restitution from the individual defendant in the full amount or a lesser amount so long as that amount is at least $250,000 for production of child pornography, $150,000 for distribution of child pornography, $25,000 for possession of child pornography, $50,000 for any other child pornography offense. So all of the victims [sic defendants] are jointly and severally liable and each may seek contribution from other responsible defendants.
So we now essentially put forward a framework for this so I want to just thank Senator Hatch and all of us who worked on it because I think it really is an important bill.