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A Better Partnership
January 16, 2013

COA Opinion: Sentencing variable for exploitation of a vulnerable victim is appropriate where the defendant did not have contact with victims

In People v. Needham, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a child pornography sentence may be enhanced pursuant to OV-10 for exploitation of a vulnerable victim even though the defendant never had contact with the victims. The court reasoned that, because the images were of real children, the defendant exploited and manipulated these vulnerable victims by possessing pornographic images of them for a selfish or unethical purpose. In so holding, the court relied on language in United States v. Norris, 159 F.3d 926, 929'30 (5th Cir. 1998), which noted that children's victimization 'does not end when the pornographer's camera is put away' but that the consumer of such images causes suffering to continue.

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