This Article posits that the Williams Court properly upheld Congress' shift in focus from the images to the speech pandering them. The majority ruled that the inability to complete a crime because of a factual error is not a defense. Its reasoning should lay to rest lingering claims that child protection statutes require an actual child. Nevertheless, the Article explains that the Williams dissent essentially relied on legal impossibility in its finding that the PROTECT Act's pandering provision was unconstitutionally overbroad. In so doing, the dissent reflects the reluctance of many to accept the extent to which adults are seeking to harm children and how accessible the Internet has made children available to them. This Article cautions that the dissent has improperly revitalized the legal impossibility defense, which is particularly dangerous in the Internet age. Part One of this Article gives a brief overview of the child pornography laws. Part Two describes the background and reasoning of the Williams opinion. Part Three gives the history of the impossibility doctrine including an analysis of its use in Williams. Part Four proposes that the rationale behind impossibility doctrine supports the majority view that Congress properly banned the pandering or soliciting of what a person believes to be child pornography regardless of whether an actual child is depicted.
Audrey Rogers, Protecting Children on the Internet: Mission Impossible?, 61 Baylor L. Rev. 323 (2009), available at http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/535/.