ICYMI: House Democrats Vote Against Bill to Close Dangerous Child Porn Loophole in Committee
Santa Fe, NM – Yesterday, two House Democrats, Reps. Antonio “Moe” Maestas and Eliseo Alcon, joined Senate Boss Michael Sanchez in opposition to legislation that will close a dangerous child porn loophole that leaves children vulnerable to sexual predators.
The crime’s severity was also minimized by Maestas when he said, “The worst crimes should get the worst penalties…you’re essentially asking us to make this crime the worst crime in the entire criminal code.”
Last session, a similar bill passed the House, but was killed in the Senate which is run by Senator Sanchez.
By: Chris Ramirez
January 21, 2016
Proposed legislation cracking down on child pornography cleared its first House committee Thursday.
House Bill 65 passed the House Judiciary Committee on an 8-2 vote. The bill closes the child pornography loophole that prevents offenders who possessed multiple images of child porn from being charged with more than one count.
The New Mexico Supreme Court in 2014 ruled that a whole batch of child porn images, no matter how many, is considered one count.
Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, R-Albuquerque, believes each image should constitute one count, each punishable by 18 months in prison.
“I know that it is despicable to think that a human being would be interested in seeing child being abused, but that is the reality,” Barnes said.
If the bill became law and police found 1,000 photos of child porn, each of those images would be a count that carries an 18 month sentence. In this case, the offender would face 1,500 years in prison.
Child porn could become the crime with the harshest penalties—even more so that a person who rapes a child.
“You’re essentially asking us to make this crime the worst crime in the entire criminal code,” Rep. Moe Maestas, D-Albuquerque, said.
“Each one of those images does represent either a separate victim or a separate victimization of a child,” CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson said.
The bill now moves to the House floor for a full vote.
But there is concern some in the Democratic-controlled Senate won’t like it, and it may die before ever reaching the governor.
Senate Democrats have made it clear that they would like to see bills treat and rehabilitate problems, not just lock people up forever.