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11th Circuit rules Commerce Clause no basis for making child porn possession federal crime

[JURIST] The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that federal prosecutors unduly stretched the US Constitution's Commerce Clause in their attempt to federally prosecute Florida resident James Maxwell for possession of child pornography. The prosecution offered no evidence that Maxwell transported the illegal pornography across state lines but rather based their case on the fact that Maxwell stored the explicit material on zip and floppy disks that were not produced in Florida.

Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat, writing the opinion [PDF] for the three-judge panel, concluded, "It strains reason to conceive of how Maxwell's activity of possession was in any sense 'commerce.'" Read the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 here. AP has more.

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