Comment on Carissa Byrne Hessick, The Expansion of CP Law. 21 NEW CRIM. L. REV. (coming soon).
As military defense counsel, we have had to deal with and address the “expansion” of CP into what is often referred to as erotica. Ms. Hessick notes an expansion of CP law to cover possessing images of children who are clothed and not engaged in any sexual activity, and prosecutions for possessing smaller portions of artistic and non-pornographic images.
These prosecutions have expanded the definition of the term CP well beyond its initial meaning. What is more, they signal that CP laws are being used to punish people not necessarily because of the nature of the picture they possess, but rather because of conclusions that those individuals are sexually attracted to children. If law enforcement concludes that a person finds an image of a child to be sexually arousing, then these laws can subject that individual to punishment, even though the image would have been perfectly innocuous had it been possessed by someone else.