National Law Journal Covers Cassell Cases

The National Law Journal recently ran articles on two cases involving Paul Cassell, a professor of law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

The first account concerned Cassell’s representation of a victim whose image was seized from a defendant in a child pornography case. More than a year after the defendant pleaded guilty to possessing more than 800 images of child pornography, the story recounts that “prosecutors, defense lawyers and attorneys for a victim whose image was included in the seized cache of illicit photos are quarreling over how much [the defendant] should pay in restitution — and whether he should have to pay at all.”

The 11th Circuit in Atlanta recently affirmed the defendant’s restitution order of $12,700. Cassell and another attorney responded with two appeals in the D.C. Circuit, one challenging the district court’s original order and another asking the appellate court to award $3 million, the full amount of restitution.

“This isn’t really about the money,” Cassell told the publication. “This is about the principle of protecting the rights of crime victims.”

The second National Law Journal article involves the state of Utah’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule what is left of the court’s 1987 decision in Booth v. Maryland by permitting victims to provide a victim impact statement about the crime, the defendant and the sentence.

Cassell filed an amicus brief on behalf of the National Crime Victim Law Institute. In that brief, he focuses on sentencing recommendations and argues that there has never been a bar against victims making sentencing recommendations in prior law.

According to the article, the Justices have listed Utah’s petition for consideration at their February 18 conference.

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The National Law Journal is a weekly publication that reports on federal circuit court decisions, verdicts, practitioners’ columns, coverage of legislative issues and legal news for the business and private sectors.