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Congress Quietly Increases Child Pornography Penalties

Late last year, President Obama quietly signed into law the  Child Protection Act of 2012 (“CPA”).  Primarily publicized as a piece of anti-trafficking legislation, the CPA has serious sentencing consequences for federal defendants accused of child pornography offenses.  Under the CPA, some defendants convicted of possessing or accessing child pornography depicting young minors would see their statutory maximum prison sentences double from 10 years to 20 years.  The CPA also instructs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review and amend the federal sentencing guidelines to impose additional penalties for witness intimidation relating to certain offenses involving minors.  For more information, please refer to this article on the legislation by Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma and other members of the Sentencing Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  Federal defendants confronting this changing legal landscape should make sure they are represented by experienced counsel able to navigate the federal sentencing statutes and guidelines.

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