The possession, distribution and production of child pornography are crimes that are aggressively prosecuted by state and federal authorities. Special task forces have been established to crack down on those who use the internet to download and share child pornography. Often this is accomplished by establishing internet sting operations. Federal statues include stiff, mandatory minimum sentences and sex offender registration for those convicted of crimes involving child pornography.
The police or federal agents work with internet service providers to get information about who is downloading child pornography on the Internet. Armed with this identifying information, they obtain search warrants, arrest the alleged perpetrator and seize his or her computer. If evidence of child pornography is found on your computer, you will be charged with a felony. If convicted, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
Many people who believe they had successfully deleted material from their computers later learned that evidence of the material could still be found. Forensic computer technicians are usually able to recover any data that has been deleted using conventional deletion methods, and also are able find bits and pieces of information that is left behind when you search the internet, or open files.
Attorney Thomas A. Pavlinic has successfully represented clients accused of the production, possession and distribution of child pornography. In many cases, the key question comes down to this: What is possession?
Tom won a case for a client whose teenager had downloaded images from the Internet. When this client found the images, he deleted them from his computer. After federal agents seized the computer, forensic computer experts were retained to examine the hard drive looking for evidence of child pornography. The state's experts were able to recover the deleted images, but it took 80 hours of work using equipment that cost half a million dollars. This is a clear example of law enforcement's dedication to prosecuting these crimes.
The judge in that case agreed with Tom that this client, who didn't have the computer skills or means to retrieve these images, was not in fact in possession of child pornography.
In some instances the evidence is simply too much to refute, and therefore it may be in the defendant's best interest to accept a plea deal. However, it is imperative to have an attorney that has extensive experience in persuading prosecutors to agree to an acceptable plea. They do not give acceptable pleas without a fight. There are many factors that come into play when dealing with such matters, and our attorneys have been tremendously successful in dealing with prosecutors.
If you have been charged with, or feel that you may be under investigation for child pornography, please contact Tom Pavlinic to arrange a free consultation and case assessment. He and his experienced lawyers will work to protect your constitutional rights, including the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure.