In this article, we review some of the valuable steps forward found in the AVAA, as well as the work that remains to be done. But in closing, it may be useful to remember that the legal issues swirling around restitution decisions have real world consequences, both for the defendants who must pay the restitution awards and the victims who need and deserve compensation. As between these two groups, however, the equities tip decisively in favor of victims. To be sure, large restitution awards have financial consequences for criminal defendants. But the stark fact remains that criminals have a choice to commit the crime or not. Having voluntarily chosen to commit a crime producing serious lifelong financial repercussions for victims, a defendant has no right to complain when courts require him to contribute to making victims whole. Victims of child pornography crimes – and, more broadly, all serious federal crimes – deserve to have their interests prioritized in federal sentencing statutes. The AVAA is a modest but useful step in that direction.
Federal Sentencing Reporter, 31:3 (2019)