CT Child Porn Release Shows State-Federal Law Difference

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Child pornography trafficker Edward J. Burke III walked out of a court in Hartford, Ct., last week, without serving a day in prison, reports the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Ct. That wouldn’t happen if he had been prosecuted in federal court. The 2006 federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act includes a minimum 5-year prison term for distributing or receiving child porn. There are no such mandatory minimum penalties in Connecticut’s laws. “All it would guarantee is that in most of the dispositions, you would have people pleading to something else, something less than a charge like child pornography,” said state Rep. Michael Lawlor, a cochair of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee.

Burke, 47, a small business development lender, pleaded guilty to possessing child porn and got a suspended prison sentence. The judge noted that he has actively participated in sex-offender therapy for the last year and, by his doctor’s account, is at very low-risk to offend again. Burke was caught after his Internet provider determined that he was distributing the images to others. U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Connor said: “I have to say that I am amazed at that sentence. It would be very, very rare to see that at the federal level. Particularly with the distribution. You really, really get hammered for distribution.”

Link: http://www.journalinquirer.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17300905&BRD=985&PAG=461&dept_id=1

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