Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Paige: Congress Can Regulate Intrastate Child Pornography

In U.S. v. Paige, No. 09-13067 (April 27, 2010), the Court affirmed convictions of a parent for permitting a minor child to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography, rejecting the argument that 18 U.S.C. § 2251(b) exceeded the scope of Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause.

The Court found that “there is nothing irrational about Congress’s conclusion that failure to regulate the intrastate production of child pornography, by punishing parents who permit their minor children to participate in the production of child pornography, would undermine its regulation of the interstate child pornography market, especially where Congress’s goal is to eradicate the interstate market in its entirety.” The non-commercial nature of Paige’s photographs of his own child was therefore irrelevant. Moreover, Paige took the photographs to put on a website, thus establishing the interstate nexus.