In my 42 years of practice as a criminal defense lawyer, I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of prosecutions for possession of or distribution of child pornography. It is a terrible crime, and unlike some other offenses, there is no sympathy for the offender. In may crimes, the public looks t it as something bad or stupid that an other wise good person did. With child pornography cases, the perception is that this is who you are. You are a sexual pervert and always will be. We are all better off if you are in prison. The courts seem to willingly indulge this public sentiment.
For a time, the federal government was all over it, much more than state governments. In recent years state and local law enforcement authorities have banded together to utilize the forensic expertise in computer technology to aggressively search out offenders. The use of file share technology on the internet makes it easier to identify and locate computers that have transferred files or received files known to law enforcement to be child pornography images. They are indicting people all of the time, simply for going on the internet and downloading child pornography.
It’s a mystery to me why adults are attracted to this material, but I suspect that many are unaware how serious the crime is. It’s horrible. The penalties are extraordinarily severe. In Florida each image found on your computer (even if it has been “deleted”) it is still in the deleted file registry of your computer, and you still “possess” it.
The presence of just 10 images in your computer can risk up to 50 years in prison for someone who has no arrest record whatsoever. Frequently the police find hundreds or even thousands of offending images stored on a computer.
While some people argue that this is a “victimless crime”, there is a solid argument that this is not so. By downloading this stuff, and in some instances, by paying for it, you’re keeping the industry going. The theory goes that if there were no market for this material, then the real monsters in the industry, the people that actually sexually exploit these children in Eastern Europe or Asia, would have no incentive to continue to do so.
The sentencing guidelines, both federal and state, are very, very harsh, and the judges generally have virtually no sympathy for people that consume, that use, that view, that possess, and especially those that purchase, and even more significantly, those who redistribute or sell child pornography.
If you’re accused of child pornography, in federal court or state court, you must have a lawyer with experience in defending people charged with this very, very serious crime. The attorneys at The Defense Group have combined experience in excess of 100 years and have extensive experience in the defense of these charges.