RECOMMENDATION 40

Part: 
Three
Chapter: 
3

Congress should amend the Child Protection Act forfeiture section to include a provision which authorizes the Postal Inspection Service to conduct forfeiture actions.

The United States Postal Inspection Service is the investigative arm of the United States Postal Service.[506] It has investigative responsibilities over all criminal violations of federal law relating to the Postal Service including the child pornography laws.[507]

The most common method of circulating child pornography has traditionally been through the mail.[508] The mail provides a clandestine and anonymous form of communication for both parties.[509]

The efforts of the Postal Inspection Service in the investigation of child pornography would be greatly enhanced through an amendment to the Child Protection Act permitting the Postal Inspection Service to engage in forfeitures.[510]

Since 1984 there has been an increased enforcement effort against child pornography. From January 1, 1978, to May 21, 1984, only 69 defendants were indicted for child pornography violations.[511] From May 21, 1984, to June 1985, there were 103 defendants indicted for child pornography violations.[512]

In 1984 the Postal Inspection Service spent 50,000 hours and completed 168 pornography investigations which resulted in 69 arrests.[513] During the first eight months of 1985 the Service spent 36,000 hours and completed 99 investigations.[514] These efforts resulted in 114 arrests.[515] In June 1985 there were over 200 open Postal Service investigations of potential child pornography violations.[516]

Under current federal law the Postal Inspection Service is excluded from participation in forfeiture actions. The forfeiture provision would enable inspectors the opportunity to recover items of value which were used in or derived from illegal activities. This provision should be structured to assist in making the Postal Inspection Service investigations self-supporting and assist in defraying the cost of subsequent prosecutions as well as removing resources from the hands of offenders.

Notes

  1. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. 1, Charles Clauson, p. 135.
  2. Postal Crimes fall within two broad categories: Criminal Acts (1) against the postal service or its employees, such as armed robberies, burglaries or theft of mail, and (2) misuse of the postal system such as the mailing of bombs, use of the mails to distribute pornography. Id.
  3. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. 1, Daniel Mihalko, pp. 145-146.
  4. Id., p. 146.
  5. The amendment should be as follows:

    To amend the Child Protection Act of 1984 to authorize the Postal Service to conduct civil administrative seizures and forfeitures under the Act, and for other purposes.

    Sec. 1. Subsection (b) of section 2254 of title 18 United States Code, is amended by inserting "or the Postal Service" after "the Attorney General."

    Sec. 2 Section 2003(b) of title 39, United States Code, is amended

    1. in paragraph (b) (5) by striking out "and";
    2. in paragraph (b) (6) by striking out the period at the end and inserting in lieu thereof a semicolon and "and",
    3. by inserting at the end of subsection (b) the following new paragraph: "(7) amounts from any civil administrative forfeiture conducted by the Postal Service"; and
    4. by inserting in the first sentence of paragraph (e) (1), immediately following the word "title" the first time it appears, the following: "including expenses incurred in the conduct of seizures, forfeitures and disposal of forfeited property pursuant to title 18.

       

  6. Chicago Hearing, Vol. 11, James S. Reynolds, p. 268.
  7. Id.
  8. Washington, D.C., Hearing, Vol. I, Jack Swagerty, p. 140.
  9. Id.
  10. Id.
  11. Id.