Saturday, April 20, 2013

Duplicates are counted as separate images for §2G2.2(b)(7)

US v. PriceSean Price uploaded images of child pornography to and West Virginia State Police traced the images to Price’s email account.  The state police obtained a search warrant and seized several computers and hard drives from Price’s home.  Fifteen images were discovered on the hard drives; Price also submitted to an interview with police in which he admitted to possessing child pornography. 

Sometime after the police search and seizure at Price’s residence, four emails containing attachments of child pornography were sent to ninety-three individuals.  The emails were sent to appear as if the sender was a West Virginia State Police Sergeant.  Price later admitted that he created the subterfuge of sending the emails. 
A grand jury indicted Price with accessing the internet via computer with the intent to view child pornography; Price pleaded guilty.   The district court sentenced Price as if he had possessed well over 600 images, based on the images sent in the emails, multiplied by the number of recipients.  Price wanted the district court to count only those images he actually possessed, 113, and that he did not duplicate the images when he sent them to multiple individuals via email. 
The Fourth Circuit determined that the language of the Application Note 4 to U.S.S.G. §2G2.2 , “[f]or the purpose of determining the number of images under subsection (b)(7):  each photograph, picture, computer or computer-generated image, or any similar visual depiction shall be considered to be one image,”  means that each and every image, regardless of originality, must be counted separately. 

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