United States v. Galan

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 11-04-2015
  • Case #: 14-30145
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Fernandez for the Court; Circuit Judges Tashima and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

When calculating the amount of restitution charged to a defendant who was convicted of distribution or possession of child pornography, the losses caused by the original abuse of the victim should be disaggregated from the losses caused by the ongoing distribution and possession of images of that original abuse.

The original abuser of Cindy made images of his crimes eleven years before Cecilio Galan committed his crimes for which he was convicted. Galan was convicted of distributing and possessing child pornography. Galan appealed the district court’s restitution order against him, claiming the district court erred when it failed to disaggregate losses caused to Cindy due to crimes by the original abuser. The Ninth Circuit held that Galan should not be responsible for the losses caused by the original abuser, and should only be held responsible for the losses caused by his distribution. The panel reasoned that past case law indicated that a separation between losses caused by the original abuser and the distributor was necessary. The panel found that separation was necessary in this case as well because Galan had nothing to do with the original abuse. VACATED and REMANDED.

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