We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.


October 2009:

The United States Sentencing Commission (“Commission”) was created by Congress to “establish sentencing policies and practices for the Federal criminal justice system” that implement the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (“SRA”),1 including the purposes of sentencing enumerated at 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2).2 In establishing such policies and practices, principally through the promulgation of federal sentencing guidelines and policy statements, the Commission’s efforts are guided by the substantive and procedural requirements of the SRA and other congressional sentencing legislation. The SRA directs that the Commission “periodically shall review and revise, in consideration of comments and data coming to its attention, the guidelines.”3 To this end, the Commission has established a review of the child pornography guidelines as a policy priority for the guidelines amendment cycle ending May 1, 2010.4 This report is the first step in the Commission’s work on this priority.

Congress has been particularly active over the last decade creating new offenses, increasing penalties, and issuing directives to the Commission regarding child pornography offenses. Indeed, in 2008, the 110th Congress passed three new laws amending child pornography statutes and creating a new offense for creating child pornography through adapting or modifying a depiction of a child.5 Prompted by congressional action, and on its own initiative, the Commission has reviewed and substantively revised the child pornography guidelines nine times. This report describes the nine revisions made to the possession and trafficking in child pornography guidelines and the guidelines’ relation to the requirements imposed on the Commission by related legislation and the SRA.6

For the remainder of this paper: by THE UNITED STATES SENTENCING COMMISSION

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