Brandon Anthony Buchanan paying $1,000 porn restitution

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Photo by mandyxclear
A Duluth man who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography last year will now have another bill to pay: $1,000 in restitution to the victim in some of those photos.

Brandon Anthony Buchanan is serving more than seven years in prison and is considered penniless without assets. He will be handing over $1,000 to the victim, known as "Amy." She is the young girl featured in one of the most widely distributed child pornography sets online.

Her lawyer, James Marsh, has gone after 400 similar cases in which Amy's photos were found in someone's possession. He sought $3.4 million restitution in this case, but the actual amount was agreed to by Marsh, prosecutors, the judge, and the defense attorney. Marsh has been going after individual possessors of child porn to set precedent that not just the creator and distributor of the child porn is to blame for a victim's suffering. He's out to prove that each person who views an image of a victim has caused additional harm.

"Restitution cases like Buchanan are empowering to my client who has gone from a nameless invisible victim to someone who is personally holding criminals responsible for violating her privacy and dignity," Marsh says. "We feel strongly that every defendant should be required to pay something in restitution to the victims of this terrible crime."

Marsh applauded the voluntary agreement in the case for eliminating possible litigation and additional burden on the government to make a statement in the case.

Restitution has been a sticky issue in the child pornography possession cases, with many courts torn as to setting dollar amounts on cases. Marsh's cases can range from $5,000 to $150,000, but other courts have ordered payments of millions or absolutely nothing. Critics say these cases should be done through the civil system instead because it's nearly impossible to put a dollar amount on the harm caused by one person viewing the image.

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