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S.J. Quinney College of Law

  Aug 20, 2014   |   Last update: August 4, 2014 @ 8:21 am

Faculty, Featured

Cassell, Teter File U.S. Supreme Court Brief on Behalf of Child Porn Victim

Paul Cassell

This week, Professors Paul Cassell and Michael Teter of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law filed their brief for the Utah Appellate Clinic in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Amy, a victim of child pornography. The brief was co-authored by James Marsh, an attorney with the Marsh Law Firm in White Plains, New York. The brief asks the Court to affirm a decision in Amy's favor by a lower court awarding Amy restitution for all her lifetime psychological counseling costs from a defendant convicted of possessing images depicting her being abused. Several students from the College of Law were involved in drafting the brief, including Jeremy Christiansen, Angela Wall, and Taylor Mosolf. 

The case involves a dispute over how to allocate the costs of Amy’s psychological counseling among many defendants who have been convicted of possessing Amy’s images. The brief explains that Amy has received notices in more than 1800 federal child pornography cases around the country.  The brief argues that each of the defendants should be "jointly and severally liable" to pay for Amy’s losses until she is fully compensated. In the brief, Cassell writes that the restitution law involved "does not require a child pornography victim to establish precisely what fraction of, for example, her psychological counseling costs are the proximate result of an individual defendant’s crime." The brief contends that the trial court "should have entered a restitution award in Amy’s favor for this amount, thereby making petitioner jointly and severally liable for her full losses along with other defendants convicted in other cases."

 Cassell will argue the case before the United States Supreme Court on January 22, 2014. He will hold a moot court for faculty and students in early January to prepare.