United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Keith Watkins CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Keith Channing Reddick pled guilty to one count of receipt of
child pornography in violation 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2)
and (b). He was sentenced on October 18, 2017. However,
restitution remained open because of unresolved factual
issues pertaining to the amount to be awarded for three
identifiable victims: “JanSocks Sierra, ”
“8 Kids - John Doe 4, ” and “Sweet Sugar -
Ava.” The parties requested and were allowed an
opportunity following the sentencing hearing to reach an
agreement as to the appropriate amount of restitution for
those victims. The parties reached an agreement that
Defendant would pay restitution in the amount of $1, 500.00
each to “8 Kids - John Doe 4” and “Sweet
Sugar - Ava.” However, because the parties could not
resolve the matter of restitution for Sierra, the court held
a restitution hearing on December 19, 2017. Sierra's
attorney, Carol Hepburn, appeared at the hearing as a fact
witness with personal knowledge regarding the extent of
Sierra's injuries. Upon consideration of all the evidence
and the record, the court concludes that Defendant shall pay
restitution to Sierra in the amount of $2, 000.00.
APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
federal district court has ‘no inherent authority to
order restitution, and may do so only as explicitly empowered
by statute.'” United States v. Dickerson,
370 F.3d 1330, 1335 (11th Cir. 2004) (quoting United
States v. Hensley, 91 F.3d 274, 276 (1st Cir. 1996)). 18
U.S.C. § 2259 provides that the district court
“shall” order restitution to identified victims
of certain child pornography crimes, including receipt of
child pornography. Under § 2259, a restitution order
“shall direct the defendant to pay the victim . . . the
full amount of the victim's losses as determined by the
court.” 18 U.S.C. § 2259(b)(1). “The full
amount of the victim's losses” includes any costs
the victim incurred for
(A) medical services relating to physical, psychiatric, or
(B) physical and occupational therapy or rehabilitation;
(C) necessary transportation, temporary housing, and child
(D) lost income;
(E) attorneys' fees, as well as other costs incurred; and
(F) any other losses suffered by the victim as a proximate
result of the offense.
18 U.S.C. § 2259(b)(3).
Paroline v. United States, 134 S.Ct. 1710 (2014),
the Supreme Court held that “[r]estitution is . . .
proper under § 2259 only to the extent the
defendant's offense proximately caused a victim's
losses.” 134 S.Ct. at 1722. Thus, in child pornography
where it can be shown both that a defendant possessed a
victim's images and that a victim has outstanding losses
caused by the continuing traffic in those images[, ] but
where it is impossible to trace a particular amount of those
losses to the individual defendant by recourse to a more
traditional causal inquiry, a court applying § 2259
should order restitution in an amount that comports with the
defendant's relative role in the causal process that
underlies the victim's general losses.
Id. at 1727.
Supreme Court suggested the following “rough guideposts
for determining an amount that fits the offense”:
[D]istrict courts might, as a starting point, determine the
amount of the victim's losses caused by the continuing
traffic in the victim's images . . ., then set an award
of restitution in consideration of factors that bear on the
relative causal significance of the defendant's conduct
in producing those losses. These could include the number of
past criminal defendants found to have contributed to the
victim's general losses; reasonable predictions of the
number of future offenders likely to be caught and convicted
for crimes contributing to the victim's general losses;
any available and reasonably reliable estimate of the broader
number of offenders involved (most of whom will, of course,
never be caught or convicted); whether the defendant
reproduced or distributed images of the victim; whether the
defendant had any connection to the initial production of the
images; how many images of the victim the defendant
possessed; and other facts relevant to the defendant's
relative causal role.
Id. at 1728.
“[a]t a general level of abstraction, ” under
Paroline, “a court must assess as best it can
from available evidence the significance of the individual
defendant's conduct in light of the broader causal
process that produced the victim's losses.”
Id. at 1727-28. As the Supreme Court acknowledged,
though, at the real-world level of determining restitution
amounts in specific cases, Paroline's
“rough” guidance is “not without its
difficulties.” Id. at 1729; see United
States v. DiLeo, 58 F.Supp.3d 239, 244-45 (E.D.N.Y.
2014) (noting the inherent impossibility of estimating a
number of crucial Paroline factors and observing
that the task of crafting a restitution order in accordance
with Paroline “seems akin to piloting a small
craft to safe harbor in a Nor'easter”).
Nevertheless, the Paroline Court declined to offer
“further detailed guidance” for practical
application, instead entrusting the experienced
“discretion and sound judgment” of district
courts to work out the remaining practical problems inherent
in fashioning restitution orders under § 2259 and
Paroline. 134 S.Ct. at 1728-29. Under
Paroline and § 2259, “courts can only do
their best to apply the statute as written in a workable
manner” while remaining “faithful to the
competing principles at stake: that victims should be
compensated and that defendants should be held to account for
the impact of their conduct on those victims, but also that
defendants should be made liable for the consequences and
gravity of their own conduct, not the conduct of
others.” 134 S.Ct. at 1729.
2259 provides that “[a]n order of restitution . . .
shall be issued and enforced in accordance with [18 U.S.C.
§] 3664 in the same manner as an order under [18 U.S.C.
§] 3663A.” 18 U.S.C. § 2259(b)(2). Section
3664(e) provides that the attorney for the Government bears
the burden of demonstrating, by a preponderance of the
evidence, “the amount of the loss sustained by a victim
as a result of the offense.” 18 U.S.C. § 3664(e).
The Total Amount of Sierra's Losses Caused by
Trafficking in Pornographic Images
starting point for fashioning a restitution award is an
estimation of the amount of the victim's losses caused by
continuing traffic in the victim's images.
134 S.Ct. at 1728. The court will “do [its] best,
” id. at 1729, and will consider the record
and each of the categories of costs listed in §
2259(b)(3) to arrive at a reasonable, non-speculative
estimate of Sierra's total lifetime losses from all
trafficking. However, determining the total amount of
Sierra's losses due to all continuing traffic is
particularly difficult because Sierra is still a minor, the
production of the last of the pornographic material was
relatively recent, and she is still in the early stages of a
process of recovery that will span the course of her
lifetime. Therefore, the estimate would necessarily require
revision and refinement in future cases as circumstances
unfold that more clearly indicate the extent of Sierra's
losses over the course of her lifetime.
Medical Services Relating to Physical, Psychiatric, or
from two experts provide a reliable starting point for
estimating Sierra's ongoing medical costs. First, in a
report dated May 4, 2016, Dr. Sharon W. Cooper, M.D., a
developmental and forensic pediatrician, ...