Washington Law Review

Comment

Protecting Child Victims’ Rights As Vigorously As Criminal Defendants’ When Prosecuting Possession or Distribution of Child Pornography

October 01, 2012 | 87 Wash. L. Rev. 883

Abstract:  Among the devastating effects of the worldwide child pornography epidemic is a concerning legal dilemma. Until recently, courts have frequently held that a defendant charged with child pornography offenses has a nearly unrestricted right to receive and view copies of the pornographic evidence as part of discovery of the state’s evidence. The duplication, dissemination, and viewing of child pornography is not only a violation of federal law, but is also a further violation of the child victims’ privacy and renewal of their abuse. The Washington State Legislature recently enacted Substitute House Bill 2177 (“H.B. 2177”), which amends the legislative findings on the child pornography epidemic, and places certain limits on the discovery of child pornography evidence. These limitations are found in the new statute RCW 9.68A.170. Washington’s law is modeled closely on the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which has withstood numerous federal constitutional challenges. This Comment argues that the Washington State Supreme Court should uphold RCW 9.68A.170 as constitutional, and overrule its earlier decisions in State v. Boyd and State v. Grenning, which created a per se rule requiring the State to provide child pornography evidence to criminal defendants.

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