Utah Appellate Clinic Gets a Mixed Ruling in Supreme Court Decision Involving Victims’ Rights

April 23, 2014 — The U.S. Supreme Court today handed down a mixed verdict in a Utah Appellate Clinic case that was argued before the Court by Paul Cassell, Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

The Utah Appellate Clinic represented “Amy,” a victim of child pornography. The case turned on a dispute over how to allocate the costs of Amy’s psychological counseling among the vast number of defendants who have been convicted of possessing Amy’s images. The widely watched case was one of the first to explore how victims of Internet-based crimes are to receive compensation.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court overturned a $3.4 million award to Amy, holding that the amount of restitution must be tied to the role the convicted offender played in causing the victim’s injury.

Cassell noted, “The Supreme Court ruled that Amy should get some restitution, but not the full restitution that we had sought.”

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