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The Plotkin Analysis: access to evidence in child pornography cases

Now that session has ended and new laws (a “brief” list can be found on SPD Connections at http://intranet.opd/html/legup/Low.pdf) are in effect, we are looking to quantify the effect of these laws to be able to demonstrate the impact of new criminal penalties and procedures to the Legislature in the future.

 Often we can track simple data like case openings through eOPD, but sometimes that is difficult.  One case in point is the changes to access to evidence for the defense in child pornography cases.  Changes to the current process were made in Section 7 of 2011 Wisconsin Act 284.

 By requiring the evidence be viewed at a government facility and copies not be made available, we anticipate a significant increase in the costs for experts to review the evidence.  It is also possible that the changes may reduce the availability of the few experts in this area due to the increased travel time.

 If you have a case that seems to have increased costs due to these changes, please let me know the case number so that we can attempt to quantify the fiscal impact of Act 284.

 More generally, as prosecutors begin to charge based on other new criminal penalties enacted this session, let me know of any “unintended consequences” that have a larger negative affect on our clients and their families than may have been intended.

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