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§ 948.12, Child Pornography — Computer Disk Storage

State v. James W. Whistleman, 2001 WI App 189
For Whistleman: Michael J. Devanie

Issue: Whether storage of images on a computer disk satisfies the “pictorial reproduction” element of § 948.12.


¶7 … The computer disks taken from Whistleman’s residence produce visual images on the computer screen when a person inserts the disks into a computer and clicks on a file. We conclude the disks thus come within the ordinary meaning of “pictorial reproduction.”…

¶9. We also observe that two of the items preceding “or other pictorial reproduction”-“undeveloped film” and “photographic negatives”-are processed in particular ways to produce a “photograph,” and thus are one way to produce a picture of a child, while “motion picture” and “videotape,” each created through other and distinct processes, produce pictures of a child on a screen. The legislature’s choice of the broad term “or other pictorial reproduction” following various specific items, which are created and processed in different ways in order to produce a picture of a child, indicates an intent to penalize items that are able to readily produce pictures of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct, whatever the particular process or technology. It is not reasonable to conclude that in choosing the broad term “or other pictorial representation,” the legislature intended to exclude one particular, and increasingly common, means of storing and producing visual images.


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