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The Laws of Child Pornography Possession in Arizona

Simply possessing a form of child pornography is illegal almost everywhere in the world; however the state of Arizona is known to have some of the strictest and most heavily enforced child pornography laws in the United States. This is because a person who is caught in possession of child pornography can be charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, which is considered a class 2 felony under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3553.

Perhaps the case of Berger v. Arizona best demonstrates how severe child pornography possession is in the Grand Canyon state. In 2004, a Phoenix high school teacher was sentenced to 200 years in prison for his 20 counts possessing child pornography. Associated Press reports that 200 years in prison was actually the minimum sentence that Morton Berger could have received, as there's a 10 year minimum sentence for each crime of child pornography possession.

With this case, the Arizona courts ruled that possession of each pornographic image should be treated separately. Hence, Morton Berger was sentenced to ten years in prison for each of his 20 pornographic photographs. The Arizona law requires that each of the sentences be served consecutively and that each sentence be served without the possibility of probation, early release or pardon.

Even several years after the verdict, Phoenix criminal lawyers still question the extreme sentence that was associated with this case. Some of the defendant's lawyers tried to appeal the sentence, citing "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Yet the Supreme Court still refuses to consider an appeal for the case.

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