February 25, 2015

Va. House backs state subpoenas to combat child porn

2-25-15 Virginia:

By a 97-1 vote, the House of Delegates on Wednesday passed a Senate measure allowing the state to issue administrative subpoenas - which may be sealed if necessary - to obtain records from computer service service providers as part of child pornography, abduction and prostitution crime investigations.

"We've prosecuted or investigated hundreds of these cases and nearly all of them start with an administrative subpoena to find out who is distributing or producing the child pornography and to direct the investigation," said Michael Kelly, spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, the driving force behind Senate Bill 919.

Kelly said some Internet companies alert customers when a subpoena comes in, allowing the person distributing the material to destroy the evidence or flee.

"We wrote (the measure), ran it by the governor's Cyber Security Commission, and worked with the legislators to make sure they understood it and were comfortable with it," Kelly said.

Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, unsuccessfully asked the House to amend the measure to include that a judge sign off on such subpoenas.

"I can't think of a punishment adequate enough to these sort of crimes. But it is our job to protect the Constitution," said Marshall, asserting that the legislation violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures.

But Del. Jackson H. Miller, R-Manassas, said the measure is constitutional, "and it protects children and helps put away some of these scumbags" suspected of child pornography crimes.

Lawmakers asked the House pages to leave the chamber as lawmakers debated the proposal, which included discussion in graphic detail of sex crimes involving children. ..Source.. by MARKUS SCHMIDT

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