The Comics Journal has run a statement from Eric A Chase, attorney for Christopher Handley, the Iowa man who pled guilty to “possessing drawings of children being sexually abused.” The statement lays out the reasons why defending Handley in court would have been difficult, but also the absurdity of the crime:
Chris, like most everyone else who had only heard about Ashcroft from news accounts that shoddily reported that the Supreme Court had “legalized virtual child porn,” believed the magazines were legal when he bought them. As importantly, Chris was not a collector exclusively of lolicon. He was a collector of all things manga. Of the thousands of books and magazines found by the Feds at Chris’ home, only about twenty had questionable content and ultimately only seven were charged as clearly depicting the violent sexual abuse of obviously very young children.
UPDATE: Jeff Trexler has some comments on the Handley case that give it a bit more context, including the fact that between the prosecution and sentencing a new prosecutor took over the case.