Articles Posted in Child Pornography

The United States Constitution affords criminal defendants numerous rights that are staunchly upheld. For example, under the Double Jeopardy clause, people can only be tried for a crime once; if the government cannot convict a defendant of an offense the first time, it does not get another shot. This does not mean that a person cannot be charged with multiple crimes related to the same incident, though, as demonstrated in a recent child pornography case in which a Florida court denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss his indictment on double jeopardy grounds. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a child pornography offense, it is advisable to contact a Sarasota sex crime defense attorney as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with soliciting for child pornography. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury found him guilty, based on the standard established by the controlling precedent in the Circuit. The court later overturned the ruling establishing the standard, and the defendant successfully moved for a judgment of acquittal. Concurrently, the government charged the defendant with attempting to produce child pornography. The second charge arose out of the same conduct as the first charge. Thus, the defendant moved to dismiss the new charge against him, arguing that he could not be tried for the same conduct twice under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution. The trial court denied his motion, and he appealed.

The Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution

If the same behavior violates two statutory provisions, the court conducting a double jeopardy analysis must first determine whether the legislature intended each violation to be charged as a separate offense. If the court cannot ascertain the congressional intent, it will apply the Blockburger test established by the Supreme Court.

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Intent is an element of several criminal offenses. In other words, in order to achieve a conviction, the prosecution must show that the defendant possessed a certain mental state at the time the alleged acts were committed. It may be difficult for the prosecution to prove intent in cases involving the use of file sharing technology, though. A Florida court recently outlined what evidence is adequate to show that a defendant charged with distributing child pornography via a file sharing application had actual or constructive knowledge that he was committing a crime. If you’ve been charged with a sex crime against children, you should speak with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney about your options.

The Alleged offense

It is reported that an undercover agent who was investigating people suspected of distributing child pornography, communicated with the defendant’s computer via a computer at a remote location. He subsequently installed an application on the defendant’s computer, which granted them access to share files. The agent was able to obtain multiple videos containing child pornography from the defendant’s computer on two occasions.

Allegedly, the state charged the defendant with using an electronic device to transmit child pornography. During the trial, he argued that he should be acquitted, on the basis that the prosecution had failed to prove that he had deliberately disseminated pornography. He was convicted and sentenced to eleven months in prison and three years on probation. He filed an appeal, claiming the trial court erred in refusing his petition for acquittal.

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Many people convicted of sex crimes are fortunate enough to avoid jail time and are instead sentenced to probation. If a person sentenced to probation does not comply with the terms of his or her probation, the person’s probation may be revoked, and he or she may have to serve a prison sentence. The State must present cogent evidence that the acts of a person on probation constituted a violation in order to obtain a revocation, however, and if it cannot, a revocation may be unjust. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which a Florida appellate court reversed the revocation of a defendant’s probation, upon finding that the defendant’s possession of pornography did not constitute a violation of his probationary terms. If you are charged with a sex crime, it is prudent to speak with a trusted Sarasota sex crime defense attorney regarding your available defenses.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with possession of child pornography. He pled guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence of sex offender probation for ten years. The defendant received a letter memorializing the terms of his probation, which were later orally pronounced at his sentencing hearing. The probationary terms included the requirement that the defendant could not view, own, access, or possess any pornographic materials that were relevant to his pattern of deviant behavior.

Allegedly, in March 2019, the State filed an affidavit stating that the defendant violated the terms of his probation after it was revealed that the defendant had a pornographic magazine. During the defendant’s probation violation hearing, the defendant argued that the magazine did not violate the terms of his probation, because it depicted adults and was not relevant to the deviant behavior associated with the offense of owning child pornography. The court disagreed, and the defendant was sentenced to prison, after which he appealed.

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It is well established that the State must establish each element of an alleged crime in order to obtain a conviction. Thus, in many cases in which a defendant is convicted despite the lack of sufficient evidence, the defendant will file a motion for acquittal following his or her conviction. In a recent case in which the defendant was convicted of numerous sex crimes including sexual performance by a child, the court discussed the standards for granting an acquittal and the evidence needed to prove the crime of sexual performance by a child. If you are charged with a sex crime against a child, it is important to retain an assertive Sarasota sex crime attorney to assist you in fighting to protect your rights.

Factual Background

It is reported that following an incident in a dressing room at a thrift store, the police conducted an investigation regarding the defendant’s alleged videotaping of children. The police ultimately uncovered numerous photographs and videos of the defendant’s sister-in-law and her minor daughter, in which both the sister-in-law and daughter were nude. The police also found photographs in which the defendant’s penis was touching the minor daughter’s face and other photographs that depicted the defendant touching the child when she was asleep. The defendant was charged with approximately twenty sex crimes, including seven counts of sexual performance by a child. During the trial, the defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal. The motion was denied, and he was convicted on all charges, after which he appealed the denial of his motion.

Grounds for Granting a Motion for Acquittal

Under Florida law, a defendant filing a motion for judgment of acquittal may either argue that the State failed to present legally sufficient evidence that the defendant committed each element of the charged offense or in cases where the evidence is wholly circumstantial, that the State’s evidence is not inconsistent with any reasonable theory of innocence. To preserve either ground for seeking a judgment of acquittal, the defendant must identify the elements of the crime for which he or she alleges the State’s evidence is lacking, or in cases involving circumstantial evidence must outline the theory of his or her defense and explain why it is not inconsistent with the evidence presented.

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