In Michigan
6:15 am
Tue July 27, 2010

Supreme Court puts limits on child porn charges

LANSING, MI – The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that downloading sexual images of children and putting them on a memory device is not the same as creating and distributing child pornography.

Michigan treats possessing and trafficking sexual images of youngsters to be a form of child abuse. Possessing child pornography is a four-year felony. Creating and distributing child porn is a 20-year felony.

Brian Lee Hill admitted he had an extensive library of child porn, most of it downloaded from the internet and burned to DVDs . But Hill says he only kept it for his own use - and that it's not fair to accuse him of creating or distributing the material.

In a split decision, the majority on the Supreme Court said the Legislature meant to deal more harshly with the people who recruit children, and who create and sell child pornography than those who simply acquire it.

In a dissent, the minority said the law clearly allowed prosecutors to charge Hill with the more serious offenses because burning the images to DVDs created new copies.