Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 , pointless?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yes, you read that title correctly, "Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 , pointless?" Really I should be phrasing that as a statement, but I decided to do it as a question, in order to allow you a chance to ponder it over and come to a conclusion yourself.

If you recall, I recently wrote about Kenneth Hopson, the father of two young girls who was convicted of having 130 images and movies, all child porn depicting sexual abuse of young girls. Some around the same age as his own daughters, some just toddlers. Gloucester Circuit Judge William H. Shaw III sentenced him to .... ONE year. Yep, just one. To make this story even more startling, Gloucester Circuit Judge William H. Shaw III is also handling the divorce in this case, which will most likely effect visitation with his children. I can only begin to fear the way that will turn out- as Shaw clearly doesn't see the danger Hopson poses to children- including his own.

The reason I bring this case up, is because believe it or not we have introduced and accepted into law the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which in Federal cases requires a minimum sentence. But, what good does it do if the States do not back the law? If you have charges in a state case, then that Law means nothing. It doesn't help ensure that these dangerous people are locked away, it does nothing. NOTHING.

Before you start to think that this case is a lone case, and that situations like this rarely happen, you might want to take a closer look.

An Avon man who had been found with scores of images of child pornography on his computer and videos of children being violently raped has avoided prison time.
Edward J. Burke III, 47, was given a suspended sentence last week after going into a courtroom expecting to spend up to four years behind bars.
Burke, 47, of Avon, was convicted in a plea deal of two counts of first-degree possession of child pornography.
Prosecutor John F. Fahey told Judge Thomas P. Miano that Burke had 141 photo images and two videotapes of known child victims on a home computer. The victims ranged in age from toddlers to prepubescent children.
Fahey and Burke's defense lawyer, John D. Maxwell, had worked out a deal that called for Burke to receive up to four years in prison, five years' probation, and mandatory sex offender registration for 10 years.
But the agreement gave Maxwell the right to argue for a completely suspended prison sentence, which was granted by Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Miano.

Different case, different judge, even worse outcome.

Burke will spend NO time in jail. Again, the courts deemed him a low risk and deemed the protection of children from this scum bag "just not worth it". I'm amazed they even had the willingness to take it to trial, or even arrest him for that matter. What a complete waste of time, and how dare the rest of us sit here shocked that yet another sexual predator has been handed a lollipop and sent on his merry way.

For more interesting tid bits on this case, see Steve Huff's post on it... he's picked up a few interesting facts on Miano.

And I pose the question, is the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act pointless? Seeing as how individual States have decided to reward child porn criminals rather than punish them? Can we rely on these laws to protect us when they only apply to Federal cases?

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