Child pornography has become a growing area of concern during this modern era where information, videos and images can be easily and rapidly accessed. A great number of child pornography cases are handled by reputable lawyers worldwide. For those convicted, these charges can be a cause of distress. Hence, an aggressive defense strategy is needed.
Majority of child pornography cases begin with a search and warrant followed by the seizure of equipment. These may include iPods, mp3 players, DVD players, discs, flash drives, hard drives and computers. Search warrants may be issued when someone reports finding pornographic materials involving children through a computer. The person reporting may be a computer technician, a family friend or any other person who has remote or direct access to the system. In a few cases, law enforcement authorities make use of downloaded peer-to-peer software to investigate networked computers to check for files that may include illicit pornographic materials. Lastly, law enforcement authorities may find IP addresses and accounts when website postings are taken down. A lot of these sites, some of which are hosted in countries abroad, ask users for some fees in exchange of access. These sites usually maintain records of users in their system.
How to Defend Yourself Against a Charge of Child Pornography
Step 1 – You should not make any statement to other persons, most especially to police officers. You should also not discuss the facts of the case with friends or family members.
Step 2 – You should immediately engage the services of a legal counsel. In a charge of child pornography, you will highly be caught in a waiting game for a certain period of time while computer forensics run system scans on the seized electronic devices. The investigations may last from a couple of months to a year.
The Defenses Available
- It should be pointed out that it is not a crime to possess pornographic materials. Only the possession of child pornography constitutes a criminal offense. It also requires that the accused had the intent to possess such. This means that the accused must be proven to have the intent to take into possession of such images and that the accused has the reason to take cognizance of its true character and content.
- There are a lot of ways an individual can obtain images on a computer which does not necessarily imply that they had the requisite of knowledge or intent to take into possession of the image. Computers may have a lot of users. Determining which particular user may have accesses, disseminated, or downloaded the illegal images may be a crucial defense issue.
- Some states have ruled that an individual cannot be found guilty of this criminal offense based simply on viewing the illegal images in a home computer. Wisconsin, Washington, Virginia and Pennsylvania have had similar rulings on the case. When a particular image is viewed in a computer, that photo is “cached” by the web browser. This implies that the photo may exist on the computer without the individual even trying to download the picture. While the individual may have taken cognizance of what he or she is viewing, the person may have been unaware that the photos are downloaded and saved automatically to the computer, and hence did not knowingly take into possession the “pornography” as state statutes requires.