December 4, 2012

Sentence Procedurally Unreasonable Where Court Failed to Address Variance Argument

In United States v. Begin, 2012 WL 4784362 (3d Cir. Oct. 9, 2012), Defendant Begin appealed from his 240-month sentence for using the Internet and a cellular phone to "attempt to persuade a minor to engage in any sexual activity for which a person can be charged". Begin pled guilty and was sentenced to 240 months' imprisonment, representing a 30-month upward departure from the top of his advisory Sentencing Guidelines range.

Begin argued that the sentence was unreasonable because the district court failed to consider his argument that a variance was warranted based on the disparity between a sentence for attempting to induce statutory rape and the lower maximum sentences for actually committing statutory rape under state and federal law. Although at sentencing the district court acknowledged and heard argument on Begin’s request, the court did not ask any questions and did not discuss or actually rule on the variance request. In its final review of the sentencing factors the court simply stated: "This sentence also takes into account the need to avoid unwarranted disparities in sentencing among defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar conduct."

The Third Circuit first determined that Begin's claim that his sentence for attempting to induce statutory rape, (18 U.S.C. § 2422(b)), should not exceed the maximum penalty for actually committing (federal) statutory rape, (18 U.S.C. § 2422(b), was an argument with colorable legal merit, citing United States v. Ausburn, 502 F.3d 313 (3d Cir. 2009). It then found that the district court failed to make a sufficient record to demonstrate its consideration of that argument, or even specifically rule on the Defendant’s request for a variance. Accordingly, the sentence was procedurally unreasonable.

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October 11, 2012

Second Circuit Holds that Certain Acts Involving Children are not Relevant Conduct for Sentencing Purposes

In U.S. v. Wernick, No. 10-2974 (2d Cir. August 8, 2012), Defendant was convicted by jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on five counts of receiving and distributing child pornography, reproducing child pornography for distribution by computer, possessing materials containing images of child pornography, and persuading, inducing, and enticing minors to engage in sexual activity.

From chat records on Wernick’s computer, the Government introduced evidence showing that on several occasions, Wernick chatted with minor male teenagers online and proposed meeting for sex. At trial, the government was able to prove two episodes, one in which Wernick met a male 14-year-old online and eventually persuaded him to meet in person several times to engage in oral and anal sex, and another involving a male 16-year-old. Additionally, at sentencing, prosecutors proved instances of Wernick's sexual conduct with two male 15-year-olds and attempted sexual conduct with respect to another male teenager.

Defendant argued the district court erred by considering some of that sexual conduct directed at young children, not charged in the indictment or proven at trial, as relevant conduct that increased his U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual offense level. The Appellate Court agreed, stating, “We agree with Wernick that the offenses against the young children are not relevant conduct because these offenses did not "occur[] during the commission of" or "in preparation for" the crimes against the teenagers in the sense contemplated by the Guidelines.” Wernick at 14.

The Appellate court did not suggest the sexual exploitation of young children was not relevant in the ordinary sense to the district court's consideration of an appropriate sentence for offenses involving illegal sexual enticement of older minors and redistribution of child pornography. It noted that the conduct in question could and undoubtedly would, be properly considered on remand in assessing the factors relevant to sentencing under 18 U.S.C.S. § 3553(a).

The sentence was vacated and the case was remanded for resentencing.

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October 8, 2012

Third Circuit Holds that Trial Judge Should Have Reviewed Video Evidence in Child Pornography Case Before Allowing Submission of the Tapes to the Jury

In U.S. v. David L. Cunningham, No. 10-4021 (3d Cir. Sept. 18, 2012), Defendant Cunningham was charged with receiving, possessing, and distributing child pornography. After a jury trial, Cunningham was sentenced to 210 months in prison and 20 years of supervised release for the receipt and distribution of child pornography. Before the jury trial, Cunningham attempted to prevent certain, graphic video evidence from being shown to the jury on multiple occasions, but the district court denied each of his requests. At trial, the District Court allowed the government, over Cunningham's objection, to show the jury two videos containing seven different video clips totaling approximately two minutes as a sample of the child pornography that gave rise to the charges.

Cunningham argued that those "images not only reveal children engaging in sexually explicit conduct; they are obscene, violent, and humiliating, necessarily conjuring feelings of disgust and blind rage." Cunningham at 9. Cunningham objected to the government's video excerpts and proposed that, if the Court was going to allow the government to introduce those exhibits, they should be limited in four ways: (1) only still images of any video should be shown; (2) no images, whether still or part of a video, should display bondage or actual violence, including the penetration of prepubescent children by adults; (3) no audio should accompany any of the video; and (4) the faces of any minors should be obscured from all images. The District Court ruled against him.

Cunningham appealed his sentence, arguing that the District Court permitted the government to show graphic video evidence without first viewing the videos, and failed to exclude or limit the video clips. The Third Circuit agreed with Cunningham and found that the District Court abused its discretion when it did not view the graphic videos before admitting them as evidence and when it failed to exclude or limit video clips. The Court noted that, “The probative value of each clip was reduced by the existence of the clips before it. Once one video excerpt from each of the two videos was shown, the fact being proven — i.e., that the person distributing, receiving, and possessing that pornography would know that it contained images of real minors engaging in sexually explicit activity — may well have been established. As a result, after one excerpt from each video was displayed, the probative value of the remaining excerpts became diminished because knowledge of distribution, receipt, and possession had already been established in some degree by the prior video excerpts.” Id. at 45-46.

The Third Circuit vacated the District Court’s ruling and remanded the case for a new trial.

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August 7, 2012

Child Pornography Sentence Vacated

In United States v. Inman, 666 F.3d 1001; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 1394, The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit vacated the sentence of defendant Brandon Inman, a federal prisoner who pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. Inman appealed from The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky’s judgment imposing lifetime supervised release and certain conditions of that supervised release. The appellate court held that because the district court did not articulate a rationale for the length of supervised release and some of the conditions it imposed, Inman’s case had to be remanded for re-sentencing.

Inman pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B). Inman admitted possession of a computer thumb drive that he knew contained many images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. At the sentencing hearing, the district court considered all of the sentencing factors enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) before imposing a term of incarceration of fifty-seven months. Although both parties requested a ten-year term of supervised release, the court imposed a lifetime term of supervised release with standard and special conditions. The special conditions included orders that barred the defendant from consuming alcohol for life, required him to submit to periodic drug testing, and required him to keep the probation office informed of any prescription medications in his possession. The district court also precluded him from using any device capable of creating pictures or video.

The circuit court questioned the reasons for these restrictions, stating that nothing in the record suggested defendant Inman had any problem with alcohol or drug dependence. The court also held that because the underlying conviction involved receiving child pornography through the Internet, the restriction on any device capable of creating pictures or video was not clearly justified, noting that, “This special condition effectively prohibits Inman for his lifetime from possessing a cell phone with photo or video capability, a video camera, or any other device capable of creating pictures or videos, even if such devices might be used appropriately in connection with employment or family activities.”

Because the record did not demonstrate that the district court considered any of the pertinent 18 U.S.C.S. § 3553(a) factors when it imposed the term of supervised release, and the district court did not explain why it chose certain special conditions, the judgment imposing supervised release with conditions was vacated and the case was remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.

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May 17, 2012

Child Pornography Legal To View Online In New York – Court Rules That Looking At Porn Doesn't Mean Possession

In The People v. James D. Kent, 2012 NY Slip Op 3572, the Court of Appeals of New York reversed Defendant Kent’s conviction for possession of child pornography as to counts relating to pornographic images he did not download or otherwise manipulate or control.

On May 26, 2005, defendant James D. Kent, a professor of public administration at a Dutchess County college, received a new office computer through a campus-wide technology upgrade. The files stored on the hard drive of the old computer were transferred to the new computer. On April 5, 2007, a student employee of the college's information technology (IT) department went to defendant's office in response to his complaints that his computer was malfunctioning. While running a virus scan of the computer's hard drive, the employee discovered a work folder containing numerous ".jpg" or picture files, displayed as "thumbnails," of scantily clad, prepubescent girls in provocative poses. When the virus scan failed to correct the computer's unresponsiveness, the employee removed defendant's hard drive and took it back to the IT office, where supervisors learned of the images. College administrators informed defendant that these images had been found on his computer, but defendant denied any knowledge of them.

Approximately two weeks later, the college submitted defendant's hard drive to the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department with a "Consent to Search" form signed by a college administrator. Thereafter, an investigator in the computer forensic lab of the New York State Police conducted a forensic analysis of defendant's hard drive and found a variety of pornographic images and videos featuring children. But while many images/videos had been purposefully downloaded by defendant, others had been simply viewed and automatically “cached”, or stored to his hard drive with no action on his part.

After a bench trial, defendant was convicted of promoting a sexual performance by a child (Penal Law § 263.15) and possessing a sexual performance by a child (Penal Law § 263.16). He was sentenced to concurrent indeterminate prison terms of one to three years. He appealed; the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (New York) affirmed. He sought further review.

The Court of Appeals of New York found that defendant was properly convicted of promotion and possession of a video and other images of child pornography recovered from his computer where the evidence established that he had downloaded and/or saved the video and the images prior to deleting them. However, as to images that were automatically cached, the Court ruled differently. It held that evidence of the existence of cached images of child pornography on a defendant's computer, without more, was insufficient to prove that the defendant procured or possessed them. As there was no evidence that defendant downloaded, saved, printed, or otherwise manipulated or controlled a Web page containing images of child pornography while it was on his screen, evidence that he had accessed a given child porn site was insufficient to convict him of promoting or possessing a sexual performance by a child. Defendant's conviction of promotion and possession was reversed as to the counts relating to images he had not downloaded or otherwise manipulated or controlled.

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March 23, 2012

3rd Circuit Upholds 30-year Sentence in Child Pornography Case

In U.S. v. Hardy, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the thirty year prison sentence handed down by the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania when defendant Kelly Hardy pleaded guilty to three child pornography offenses. 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 24475.

On April 16, 2009, law enforcement officers conducted a search of Hardy's home and seized numerous "pairs of soiled young girls' underwear" and a large amount of electronic equipment, "including 14 desktop computers, three laptop computers, 60 hard drives, over 4,000 compact discs and digital versatile discs, and over 3,000 floppy discs, eight thumb drives, 36 zip discs, two camcorders, one Palm Pilot, one digital camera, one 35-millimeter camera, two webcams, one cellphone, and over 800 video tapes." Forensic analysis of the computers revealed thousands of images of child pornography, many of which Hardy had received and exchanged electronically. The images depicted pre-pubescent children of various ages engaged in sexual acts. Officers also accessed Hardy's sexually explicit internet chats with another man, with whom Hardy discussed "breaking into homes, raping children, killing them, and making their parents watch." Id. at 1-3.

Hardy pleaded guilty to transportation of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(1) (Count One); receipt of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2) (Count Two); and possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B) (Count Three). During his sentencing hearing, Hardy called Dr. Jolie Brams to testify about his psychological history and "deeply ingrained sexual urges." Because Hardy's offense level was 42 and he had no criminal history points, his applicable Guidelines range was 360 months to life. After rejecting his request for a downward variance, the Court sentenced Hardy to 360 months in prison, consisting of 240 months for Count One and 120 months for Count Two, to run consecutively.

Hardy appealed the sentence, arguing that the five-level enhancement he received under USSG § 2G2.2(b)(3)(B) was predicated on the erroneous factual finding that he distributed pornographic images of children for a "thing of value," namely, other such images. Id. At 4-5.

The Court of Appeals upheld the sentence, referencing the applicable sentencing guidelines. Those guidelines hold that for purposes of USSG § 2G2.2(b)(3)(B), “distribution” includes "bartering or other in-kind transaction, that is conducted for a thing of value, but not for profit." The Court wrote, “The presentence investigation report indicates that Hardy made such exchanges. Because the conclusion that Hardy made in-kind exchanges of child pornography finds support in the record, we see no clear error in the District Court's application of the five-level enhancement.” Hardy at 5.

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March 20, 2012

Defendant in Child Pornography Case Ordered to Pay Restitution to Child Depicted in One of His Images

Ricky Lee Daniel was convicted in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia of possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 2252A(a)(5)(B) and 2256(8)(A). United States v. McDaniel, 631 F.3d 1204 (2011). The district court ordered the defendant to pay restitution to a child depicted in one of the images, and defendant appealed.

A jury convicted McDaniel of possession of child pornography, finding that he possessed 600 or more images of child pornography. The district court sentenced him to 60 months of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $12,700.00 restitution to "Vicky," a child depicted in one of the images. McDaniel appealed, asking whether 18 U.S.C. § 2259 requires a showing of proximate cause, and if so, whether the district court clearly erred in ordering restitution.
The victim, “Vicky”, had been notified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children when it was discovered that defendant's child pornography collection included an image of her being raped and abused by her father when she was 10 years old.

The Court of Appeals held that, “Like the producers and distributors of child pornography, the possessors of child pornography victimize the children depicted within. The end users of child pornography enable and support the continued production of child pornography. They provide the economic incentive for the creation and distribution of the pornography, and the end users violate the child's privacy by possessing their image. All of these harms stem directly from an individual's possession of child abuse images.” McDaniel at 1208.

The court found that the dissemination of child pornography certainly exacerbated the victim's harm by a continuing invasion of privacy and by providing the very market that led to the creation of the images in the first place. The court also found that § 2259 did require proximate causation and that defendant's conduct proximately caused the victim's losses. Each notification added to the trauma and intensified the victim's emotional issues. The Court of Appeals held that the district court did not err in finding that “Vicky” was a victim of defendant's possession of child pornography and that she was eligible for restitution.

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March 1, 2012

Fifth Amendment Protects Defendant’s Refusal to Produce Encrypted Computer Files

In RE: GRAND JURY SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM DATED MARCH 25, 2011 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, v. JOHN DOE, Appellant, 2012 WL 579433, Nos. 11–12268 & 11–15421, is a decision of the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit (February 23, 2012) in an appeal of a judgment of civil contempt in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

“John Doe” was served with a subpoena duces tecum requiring him to appear before a Grand Jury in a child pornography investigation and produce the unencrypted contents on the hard drives of Doe's previously seized laptop computers and five external hard drives. Doe informed the United States Attorney that, when he appeared before the grand jury, he would invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refuse to comply with the subpoena.

The U.S. Attorney immediately moved the district court for an order requiring Doe to show cause why Doe should not be held in civil contempt. Doe explained that he invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination because the Government's use of the decrypted contents of the hard drives would constitute derivative use of his immunized testimony. The court rejected Doe's explanations, adjudged him in contempt of court, and ordered him incarcerated. Doe appealed the ruling.

The United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, ruled in Doe’s favor, finding that the district court had erroneously concluded that Doe was not protected by the Fifth Amendment in his refusal to comply with the court order because, by decrypting the contents, he would be testifying that he, as opposed to some other person, placed the contents on the hard drive, encrypted the contents, and could retrieve and examine them whenever he wished. The Court held that even if the decryption and production of the contents of the hard drives themselves were not incriminatory, they were a “link in the chain of evidence” that was designed to lead to incriminating evidence, and this was sufficient to invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege.

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February 20, 2012

Defendant’s Child Pornography Conviction Overturned Where Other People Had Equal Access to the Computer Used to Download the Pornography

A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has reversed a child pornography conviction in United States of America v. Keith Moreland. At the trial of this case, the prosecutor introduced 112 digital images of alleged child pornography that a local police officer found on two home computers owned by Keith Moreland and his wife Dianna. Because Keith’s father, George Moreland, was terminally ill and required assisted living, he resided with Keith and Dianna off and on during 2007 and until his death in January 2008.

Keith, Dianna, and Keith’s brother all testified to George’s affinity for pornography. Dianna testified that George would use the computers at night when the rest of the family was in bed. The police officer admitted he could not determine the images' origin or if Keith, Dianna, George, or another person was using the computers when the images were received.

Because of this, the Court of Appeals found that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding beyond a reasonable doubt that Keith knowingly possessed the images. The court held that the evidence did not sufficiently show a rational jury could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Keith knew the images were in the computers or that he had the requisite knowledge and ability to access them and to exercise dominion or control over them. The District Court’s judgment of conviction was reversed.

All persons charged with crimes are entitled to the protections afforded by the United States Constitution. An experienced criminal defense attorney helps to ensure that a defendant’s rights are protected before, during and after a trial. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. For a confidential consultation, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff at (215) 563-9800 or via email at marc@nefflawoffices.com.

November 26, 2010

Third Circuit Criticizes Child Porn Sentencing Guidelines

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a New Jersey U.S. District Judge’s decision to impose a sentence of less than the mandatory minimum for a defendant convicted of child pornography charges. In United States v. Grober, the defendant pled guilty to six child pornography charges. Under the sentencing guildelines set forth by the Department of Justice, the judge was advised to sentence the defendant to a term between 235 to 293 months imprisonment. Calling the guidelines “draconian”, the judge instead sentenced the defendant to 60 months imprisonment, the mandatory minimum sentence.

The Department of Justice appealed the sentence, arguing that the District Court rejected the guidelines without adequately addressing the prosecution’s arguments about the rationales of Congress and the Sentencing Commission, embodied in the guidelines. However, they did not argue that the District Court lacked the authority to disagree with the guidelines on policy grounds, or that the sentence imposed was substantively unreasonable. Upon review, in a 2-1 decision the Third Circuit rejected the government’s appeal, noting widespread dissatisfaction amongst federal judges as the sentencing guidelines for child pornography crimes have grown increasingly harsh.

All persons charged with crimes are entitled to the protections afforded by the United States Constitution. An experienced criminal defense attorney helps to ensure that a defendant’s rights are protected before, during and after a trial. If you have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. For a confidential consultation, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff at (215) 563-9800 or via email at marc@nefflawoffices.com.

November 24, 2010

Peer-to-Peer Networks Remain Target of Child Pornography Investigations

Although a federal judge ordered peer-to-peer (“P2P”) network LimeWire to shut down last month due to copyright infringement issues, investigations continue by law enforcement officials into the use of older versions of LimeWire and other P2P networks as forums for the distribution of child pornography.

Since 2003, federal law enforcement agencies have undertaken a major initiative against the distribution of child porn over peer-to-peer networks. Unlike traditional computer networks, which use a central server to exchange files, peer-to-peer networks like LimeWire allow users to connect their computers directly to one another. Once a user installs a peer-to-peer software application on his or her computer, he or she can access it directly to search for and download files designated for distribution on any computer using the network at that time.

Investigators and agents from participating state and federal agencies continue to infiltrate P2P networks to identify those who have distributed and taken possession of child pornography. Sophisticated computer programs have been developed to identify child pornography stored in folders shared through peer-to-peer applications. These applications work by searching for and identifying the “fingerprints” of known child pornography files. Every computer file, regardless of name, has a unique “fingerprint” that distinguishes it from any other file. Known child pornography files have been recorded in a national database. The investigator’s software searches for the digital fingerprints of these known child porn images on LimeWire, and then reveals the location of the computers trading the illegal images.

Although the Fourth Amendment generally requires police to have a valid warrant to seize a computer from a person’s private home, several federal courts have recently ruled that the police do not need a warrant to search publicly accessible files from a private computer on a peer-to-peer network. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Except for several well-noted exceptions, the police must have a valid warrant prior to conducting a search of a person or their private property. If the police do not have a valid warrant, any evidence seized during the illegal search is generally inadmissible at trial. Recent decisions have held that individuals do not have reasonable expectations of privacy in content made publicly available on LimeWire; therefore, law enforcement need not have a warrant to search and download content from the peer-to-peer site.

All persons charged with crimes are entitled to the protections afforded by the United States Constitution. An experienced criminal defense attorney helps to ensure that a defendant’s rights are protected before, during and after a trial. If you have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. For a confidential consultation, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff at (215) 563-9800 or via email at marc@nefflawoffices.com.

June 16, 2010

Two Suspects Indicted In Philadelphia for Their Role in an Illegal Online Pharmacy

A pharmacist from Florida and a website operator from the Bahamas were indicted last month for their roles in an illegal online pharmacy. The two suspects worked together and with legitimate pharmacies around the nation to dispense prescription medications without proper prescriptions. At least one pharmacy used by the suspects to facilitate their operation was located in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Robert Niczyporowicz, acting special agent in charge of the Philadelphia office of the Drug Enforcement Administration described the online pharmacy as a circumvention of medical professionals, as the pharmacies customers would often seek prescription medication which their own doctors would not prescribe; the majority of prescriptions sold on the website were for Phendimetrazine and Phentermine, which are weight loss drugs that are illegal in the United States without prescription. Viagra and Cialis were also found to be popular sales on the website.

The two suspects were indicted under the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act, passed into law in 2008 following the death of Ryan Haight, an eighteen year old that overdosed on prescription Vicodin he ordered without a valid prescription, online. The Act requires websites to obtain a valid prescription from the consumer, prior to dispensing prescription medication. Prior to the Act’s passage, many online pharmacies would only require the consumer to fill-out an online questionnaire; the website in question continued to dispense prescriptions based off of such a questionnaire. The Act now defines a valid prescription as a prescription that is issued for a legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional practice, issued by a practitioner who has conducted at least one in-person examination of the patient seeking the prescription.

The Act also requires all online pharmacies to register with the Drug Enforcement Agency. The website must also report to the Attorney General’s office as to what prescriptions and the amount of same the website offers and dispenses. All online pharmacies are now required to obtain licensure from the states in which they operate, and must comply with all state laws regarding the dispensing of prescriptions. Websites must clearly display the states in which they are licensed, the pharmacies contact information as registered with the DEA, the pharmacist-in-charge’s information and a certification that the pharmacy is licensed to practice.

Finally, the Act increases the penalties associated with violations of laws regarding the illegal dispensing of pharmaceuticals. Depending on the severity of the offense, the Act calls for fines up to $5 million and imprisonment of up to 30 years for violations of the Act.

If you are under investigation or have been charged with a violation involving an online pharmacy, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. You may contact Marc Neff to schedule a confidential consultation at (215) 563-9800 or email at marc@nefflawoffices.com.

May 31, 2010

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Holds No Right to Privacy When One’s Hard Drive is Installed in Someone Else’s ComputerWithout Password Protection

A recent appellate holding by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in U.S. v. Richard D. King, Jr. establishes that one gives up the right to privacy when sharing the use of a computer with others. The Supreme Court of the United States had established that a present co-tenant could refuse police search of a premises regardless of the consent of other tenants. The Court, however, never established whether said holding applied to personal belongings once police were allowed entrance to the premises.

Richard D. King, Jr. was charged with violations of Federal Child Pornography and Sexual Assault statutes when police discovered child pornography on his girlfriend’s home computer. King, who lived with his girlfriend, installed his own hard drive into his girlfriend’s computer. Police obtained an arrest warrant for King relating to his child pornography activities and executed said warrant at the couple’s home. While at the home, King’s girlfriend consented to the search and seizure of her computer. Upon search, police discovered multiple images which were subsequently used against King in his criminal proceeding. King’s attorney attempted to suppress the evidence obtained from King’s hard drive, arguing that King’s girlfriend did not have the authority to consent to the search and seizure of King’s hard drive; although she owned the computer itself. The suppression motion was denied; King was convicted and appealed to the Circuit Court.

Upon hearing King’s appeal, the Circuit Court held that the Supreme Court’s previous holding in Georgia v. Randolph did not apply to the case at bar. Here, King did not oppose entrance to the premises as the police had a sufficient warrant. The Court held that the holding in Randolph does not apply to personal belongings and effects, rather dwellings only. Further, King did not have his hard drive password protected. Since anyone using the computer was free to access the images without King’s consent via password, the Court determined his motion to suppress was properly denied and upheld King’s conviction.

Suppression of Evidence
In a criminal trial, the burden is on the prosecution to prove guilt beyond all reasonable doubt. The prosecution builds their case with evidence; some evidence stronger than other. There are rules regarding evidence, both State and Federal, which govern what evidence is admissible and what is not. Often, some or all of the evidence the prosecution wishes to use was obtained illegally, either by police or third party. An experienced criminal defense attorney is an expert in the field of evidence. Upon reviewing a defendant’s case, a criminal defense attorney will determine if some of the evidence can and should be suppressed, and will take the appropriate actions to do so.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff via phone at (215) 563-9800 or e-mail Marc@nefflawoffices.com for a confidential consultation.

March 30, 2010

No Decision yet from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals In Sexting vs. Child Pornography Case

In January, The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, heard arguments in a case of three female teenagers accused of participating in a practice, now referred to as “sexting”. Sexting involves taking nude or risqué photographs on a cellular phone and transmitting them via picture messaging or e-mail to another cellular user. The issue of sexting has become one of major concern in today’s teenage society, with MTV initiating a television campaign to warn of the dangers of sexting. Advocates against the practice argue that teens who participate in sexting put their safety at risk, as once a sexual picture is sent, the sender no longer has control over who sees the picture, including sexual predators. The opposition argues civil and constitutional rights, such as the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

In the criminal realm, the issue of sexting at least amongst those under eighteen years of age creates an area of prosecutorial concern; specifically whether the practice of sexting amongst minors constitutes creation and distribution of child pornography. Many jurisdictions have dealt with the issue of charging minors in relation to sexting incidents. Said charges have ranged anywhere from Obscenity to Possession of Child Pornography. The issues before the Third Circuit this past January not only involved the criminal prosecution of those involved, but the actions of Prosecutors as well.

Three young females from just northwest of Scranton, Pennsylvania, were caught with photographs of themselves on their respective cellular phones; two twelve-year olds are portrayed in training bras and one sixteen-year old is portrayed in a bath towel with her breasts exposed. All three are accused of disseminating those photographs. The Wyoming County District Attorney who considered prosecuting the matter gave the girls an ultimatum; attend a course developed by the District Attorney’s office to educate young girls on the dangers of being a teenage girl in today’s society, or face criminal prosecution in the alternative. The girls were also required to write essays admitting that their actions were inappropriate and why those actions were improper. The ACLU moved for an immediate injunction on criminal prosecution of the girls and said injunction was granted by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, holding that the photographs in question did not constitute child pornography and were therefore protected by the First Amendment.

At the hearing in front of the Third Circuit, prosecutors admitted that the photographs of the two twelve-year olds were not child pornography, but rather made in bad taste. Prosecutors agreed that charges could not be brought against the twelve-year olds, however maintained that the sixteen-year old’s photograph with her breasts exposed constituted a chargeable offense. The Appellate panel did not seem keen to the idea of the District Attorney’s office attempting to educate young females of the dangers of sexting, as the DA’s role is not that of a teacher. The panel also seemed skeptical about the transmission of nude photographs of one’s self, by choice, as being dissemination of child pornography. Lawyers for the girls further argued that the pictures do not even portray the pubic area, let alone genitalia, and therefore charging the girls with a second-degree felony which carries a ten year prison sentence is extremely excessive and unconscionable.

Many oppose prosecution in these cases for the simple reason that the participants do not have a criminal intent, but rather are merely conforming to society as they see it. There are no penalties for the same consensual actions amongst those over the age of eighteen. Many agree that the responsibility stems with the parents to talk to their children. Children should understand that once an image is sent, they no longer have any control over it; and with today’s technology, such material can easily end-up on the internet, be used for spite, etc. Teens should understand that cellular phone technology does not come with a 100% guarantee of privacy.

Child Pornography

Federal Law defines child pornography as “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, photograph, film, video, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where it a) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or b) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Possessing, Making, and Distributing child pornography is illegal in all 50 states, including Pennsylvania, and it is an offense which carries serious legal penalties.

If you have been arrested and charged with owning, making, or distributing child pornography, the Law Offices of Marc Neff can help. There are defenses which are available to you, so do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately.

March 19, 2010

Serial Child Pornography Offender Sentenced to One Hundred Eighty Months Special Conditions upon Release

In Philadelphia, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently held certain special conditions of parole, issued upon a defendant who pled guilty to transmitting child pornography as part of his sentence, were unconstitutional. Arthur Heckman pled guilty to one count of transporting child pornography. Mr. Heckman had entered a chat room on America Online and transmitted a total of eighteen sexually explicit images of minors to an undercover FBI agent. The FBI was able to obtain Mr. Heckler’s information from America Online and subsequently arrested him. Mr. Heckler, a repeat offender, was sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence of one hundred eighty months imprisonment; sentencing guidelines for a first offense would be between seventy and eighty-seven months. Heckman was already serving a one hundred eighty month sentence in Florida at the time of his sentencing, and the District Court ordered both sentences to be served consecutively. Mr. Heckman, forty-eight years old at the time he pled guilty, is therefore scheduled for release in his late seventies.

As part of Mr. Heckman’s sentence, the Court imposed lifetime supervised release to follow his prison term and issued three special conditions on his parole; lifetime mental health evaluations, a lifetime ban on internet access and a restriction on any interaction with minors, to be enforced by the United States Probation Office. Mr. Heckman appealed to the Third Circuit, arguing the special conditions as applied to his parole were unconstitutional.

The Third Circuit disagreed with Mr. Heckman in regard to the condition requiring lifetime mental health evaluations, citing the government’s responsibility to rehabilitate offenders and also to protect society from repeat offenders. The Court, however, overturned the restrictions on internet access and interaction with minors.

In holding the lifetime internet ban unconstitutional, the Court cited a line of cases also from the Third Circuit, which discuss the ban on internet privileges in cases of child pornography offenses. At first, the Third Circuit was skeptical to issue such bans as the constitutional infringements on the First Amendment could potentially outweigh the benefit to society. Slowly, on a case by case basis, the Third Circuit has begun upholding reasonable bans on internet access, most recently supporting a ten-year ban in United States v. Thielemann. The Court, however, has never upheld a lifetime ban on internet access, in part due to the necessity for internet access in today’s society; for example to search for employment. The Court further explained that Mr. Heckler did not necessarily use the internet to endanger minors; rather he used the internet as a means to transmit pictures which had already been taken. The Court cited a prior case where the offender used the internet to facilitate a sexual relationship with a minor from another state. In that case, the ban on internet privileges was merited as the offender had used the internet to endanger a minor.

Regarding the restriction on interaction with minors, the Court held that the delegation of supervisory and executive powers to the United States Office of Parole was unconstitutional. The Court therefore remanded the special condition on sentence back to the District Court for more specificity in compliance with the Constitution.

Child Pornography

Federal Law defines child pornography as “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, photograph, film, video, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where it a) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or b) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Possessing, Making, and Distributing child pornography is illegal in all 50 states, including Pennsylvania, and it is an offense which carries serious legal penalties.

If you have been arrested and charged with owning, making, or distributing child pornography, the Law Offices of Marc Neff can help. There are defenses which are available to you, so do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately. You may schedule a confidential consultation by calling (215) 563-9800 or by email, marc@nefflawoffices.com.

February 25, 2010

Federal Courts are Split on the Imposition of Internet Bans as Penalty

In Philadelphia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, recently overturned a lifetime internet ban, which was imposed as part of a convicted child sex offender’s sentence. In reversing the defendant’s internet ban, the Third Circuit displayed its stance on the argument of internet as a right versus a privilege. The defendant, in the appeal, had been sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment, followed by a lifetime of restricted internet access as a preventative measure against recidivism; he pled guilty to transferring photographs of children engaged in sexual acts via the internet, caught by an FBI agent who was undercover as one of his recipients.

The Third Circuit noted that the longest internet ban ever upheld by that Court was a ten year ban, following a twenty year prison sentence. The Eleventh Circuit recently upheld an unconditional lifetime ban on internet privileges, where the defendant was sentenced to six years imprisonment for traveling across state lines to have sexual relations with a minor. The judiciary system affords broad discretion when applying “special conditions” to probation and parole. This concept is rooted in the need for judges to weigh each defendant’s qualities, on a case by case basis, in order to determine how to best protect society and rehabilitate the defendant upon their release from custody. The variance in the Circuit Court opinions illustrates the broad discretion afforded to the Courts. Inevitably, the issue of internet privilege bans is one that must be brought before, and decided by the Supreme Court of the United States.

The argument for banning internet privileges is obvious; to prevent convicted child sex offenders from committing future harm upon release from prison. Those against internet bans raise the Civil Rights issues involved. As we advance further into the twenty-first century, the internet becomes more and more a vital part of our everyday lives. We use the internet to buy things, sell things, communicate, research, and even find employment. Banning one’s internet privileges not only prejudices a defendant in today’s society, but also severely impacts their future when the internet becomes even more necessary. Although the right to internet access is not provided by the Bill of Rights, proponents of the argument cite to the First Amendment’s right to freedom of speech as one way an internet ban is unconstitutional. Some proponents of banning privileges, such as the Motion Pictures Association, have proposed a “three-strike” policy when dealing with copyright infringers. Such a policy, when applied to child sex offenders, would likely invite extreme criticism. Until the issue is decided by the Supreme Court, however, the imposition of internet bans will be decided on a case by case basis, impacted by the area of the country where the crime occurred.

Crimes against Minors

Knowingly persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity is a violation of both State and Federal laws. If you are being investigated or have been arrested and charged with sexual abuse of a minor, attempting to do so, or other crimes against minors such as possession of child pornography, the Law Offices of Marc Neff can help. There are defenses which are available to you, so do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately.

For a confidential consultation call (215) 563-9800 or email marc@nefflawoffices.com.

October 13, 2009

Superior Court of New Jersey Denies Motion for Summary Judgment, Finds Employer could be Liable for Employee’s Use of Work Computer to Send and View Child Pornography

In a recent appeal, challenging a motion for summary judgment which had initially been granted, the Superior Court of New Jersey reversed the motion finding an employer can potentially be held liable where an employee uses a work computer for child pornography purposes. The employee in question had photographed and videotaped his ten-year old step-daughter nude, subsequently posting the material on a child pornography site via his workplace computer. The employer has a policy in place, which all employees must agree to as part of their employment agreement, stating e-mails are the property of the employer and not the employees, employees are subject to the monitoring of their work computers, and employees must report any unacceptable workplace activity witnessed on a co-workers computer. The employee in question had been reported numerous times to superiors for allegedly viewing pornographic material on his computer during work hours. Twice, supervisors inspected the employee’s computer, examining the list of recently visited websites and observing that some were pornographic in nature. Although the sites were never opened by supervisors, the name of at least one site indicated it was potentially child pornography. Although the employer’s policy allowed for the dismissal of an employee in breach of the agreement, the employee in question was merely reprimanded on both occasions.

A lawsuit was filed by the victim’s mother, alleging negligence of the employer due to its failure to adequately monitor the employee’s computer. To be found liable for negligence, the Plaintiff must prove a duty exists on the part of the employer to monitor the employee’s computer, that duty was breached, and that breach of duty caused the Plaintiff’s injuries. In the motion for summary judgment filed by the employer and initially granted, the Court held the final element of negligence could not be met because the sexual abuse of the victim would have occurred regardless of whether the employer had monitored the computer. On appeal, however, the Superior Court reversed the motion and remanded the case for trial. The Court found the employer had both the ability and the right to monitor the employee’s work computer. The employer had knowledge of the employee’s past access of pornographic websites, giving rise to a duty to prevent the possible harm to others. Although the employee potentially could have used another computer had he not been able to post the pornography via his workspace, the Court held the issue of cause as one for a jury to decide and remanded the case accordingly. The Court’s ruling illustrates an employer’s potential liability for an employee’s criminal acts, within the scope of business.

Child Pornography

Federal Law defines child pornography as “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, photograph, film, video, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where it a) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or b) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Possessing, Making, and Distributing child pornography is illegal in all 50 states, including Pennsylvania, and it is an offense which carries serious legal penalties.

If you have been arrested and charged with owning, making, or distributing child pornography, the Law Offices of Marc Neff can help. There are defenses which are available to you, so do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately.

August 24, 2009

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Holds Use of an Adult Intermediary for Purposes of Child Pornography Constitutes Attempt under United States Statute

A recent Third Circuit decision set a precedent that using an adult intermediary, to plan sexual encounters with a minor, constitutes attempted enticement of a minor and violates 18 U.S.C. §2422(b). The relevant portion of the statute reads that whoever uses means of interstate commerce to knowingly persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity that is illegal, or attempts to do so, shall be fined and imprisoned for no less than ten (10) years under statutory guidelines.

The decision in United States v. Brian Lee Nestor involved a man (“Nestor”) who placed an advertisement on Craigslist seeking “family fun”. A Pennsylvania State Police officer, trained in recognizing code for the sexual abuse of minors and child pornography, identified “family fun” as seeking a parent, guardian, or other adult with influence over a minor, to allow said minor to participate in sexual conduct or child pornography with the person placing the advertisement. The officer began a correspondence with Nestor, choosing to involve the FBI in the investigation as well, upon which a meeting was scheduled at Nestor’s home between himself and who he thought to be a stepfather and stepson. Also contained in the correspondence were instructions on how to elude police detection, and a request by Nestor that the stepfather bring child pornography to the meeting.

Nestor was arrested and charged with violating 18 U.S.C. §2422(b) and violating a possession of child pornography statute. Nestor pled guilty to the child pornography charge, but challenged the other violation based on his dealings with an adult intermediary, rather than knowingly persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing a minor. Nestor’s motion for acquittal was denied at trial, for which he appealed the Trial Court’s decision to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Third Circuit held that Nestor had taken substantial steps to put him in direct contact with a minor, so that he could then attempt to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce the minor into illegal sexual activity. Nestor did so by using an internet website, an established means of interstate commerce. The Court cited to U.S. v. Tykarsky where a defendant who challenged his conviction of 18 U.S.C. §2422(b) because he had been dealing on-line with an undercover agent, and not an actual minor, was held to have been in violation of the statute nonetheless. The Court therefore held that “it is of no moment that Nestor never dealt directly with his intended child victim.” The fact that Nestor intended to violate the statute is enough to uphold his conviction, even though no actual minor was ever involved. The Court further stated that even if the statute were construed more strictly or narrowly, the substantial steps taken towards the violation would, at the least, constitute an attempt of the crime. The Court therefore upheld the sentence of the District Court.

Crimes against Minors

Knowingly persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity is a violation of both State and Federal laws. If you are being investigated or have been arrested and charged with sexual abuse of a minor, attempting to do so, or other crimes against minors such as possession of child pornography, the Law Offices of Marc Neff can help. There are defenses which are available to you, so do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately.

August 18, 2009

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Special Conditions of Supervised Release in Child Pornography Case

In a recent appellate decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the sentence of Paul R. Thielemann, imposing a term of imprisonment followed by a ten-year term of supervised release, subject to special conditions. Thielemann pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography and was subsequently sentenced to the statutory maximum, 240 months imprisonment, followed by ten years of supervised release. The Court conditioned Thielemann’s supervised release on two special restrictions; for the term of supervised release, Thielemann is 1) restricted from owning or operating a personal computer with internet access in home or at any other location, including employment, without written approval of the probation officer, and 2) he is restricted from possessing or viewing any materials, including pictures, photographs, books, writings, drawings, or video games depicting and/or describing sexually explicit conduct.

Thielemann appealed his sentence on the basis of special conditions imposed on his supervised release. Specifically, District Courts may impose special conditions of supervised release, but such conditions must be reasonably related to the factors set forth in the statutory sentencing guidelines, and must involve no greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary to deter future crime, protect the public, and rehabilitate the defendant. The Third Circuit examined the relevant facts of the case under this standard and determined the special conditions were merited. Those relevant facts involved Thielemann’s usage of child pornography and sexual abuse of minors, to entice heterosexual males into sexual activity with him. This commingling of adult and child sexual conduct was sufficient to merit the special conditions imposed on Thielemann.

The Court began by examining the ban on sexually explicit material, as weighed against Thielemann’s First Amendment Constitutional rights. The Court cited to United States v. Voelker, where Defendant’s similar lifetime ban on possession of sexually explicit material was overturned due to a lack of nexus between the special condition and the crime committed. In Voelker, Defendant was convicted of possession of child pornography, but nothing in the record suggested that sexually explicit material involving adults contributed in any way to the offense. Contrarily, the Court found overwhelming evidence in the record of the case at hand to conclude that Thielemann’s exposure to sexual material will contribute to future offenses by Thielemann. The Court held the restriction not to be overbroad or vague, and therefore not a violation of Thielemann’s First Amendment rights.

The Court then considered the ban on computers with internet access. The Court noted the importance of computer usage in today’s society, but also explained that Thielemann is not banned from owning a personal computer, but merely from accessing the internet. Further, the ban on internet access expires after ten years of supervised release; in Voelker, a lifetime ban on internet access was found not to be narrowly tailored and contained no exceptions. Unlike the ban in Voelker, Thielemann may obtain permission from his probation officer should the need arise to access the internet for specific purposes. Finding a nexus between the special conditions of supervised release imposed and the aspects of the offense committed, the Court found no Constitutional violations and upheld Thielemann’s sentence.

Child Pornography

Federal Law defines child pornography as “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, photograph, film, video, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where it a) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or b) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Possessing, Making, and Distributing child pornography is illegal in all 50 states, including Pennsylvania, and it is an offense which carries serious legal penalties.

If you have been arrested and charged with owning, making, or distributing child pornography, the Law Offices of Marc Neff can help. There are defenses which are available to you, so do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately.


June 1, 2009

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Rules Accessing and Viewing Child Pornography over the Internet Constitutes Control under Sexual Abuse of Children Statute

Pennsylvania’s statute on Sexual Abuse of Children contains a provision which states: “it is illegal for an individual to knowingly possess or control any book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of eighteen years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act.” In 2003, Anthony Diodoro was charged and subsequently convicted with violations of the Sexual Abuse of Children statute and Criminal Use of a Communication Facility. Police had obtained a search warrant for Diodoro’s computer, upon which they found evidence of accessing child pornography in the hard drive’s cache memory; the images were not saved to the hard drive but rather the evidence showed the images were merely accessed via the internet and viewed by the user.

Diodoro was convicted and sentenced to nine to twenty-three months incarceration, followed by five years of supervised probation. A panel of Superior Court judges reversed Diodoro’s conviction, finding that the evidence against him was insufficient to support a finding of possession of child pornography in conformance with the statute. The Commonwealth appealed and was granted an en banc rehearing by the Superior Court. In this rehearing, the Court held that Diodoro’s mere accessing and viewing of child pornography constituted the control element of the criminal statute, basing their opinion on the ordinary meaning of control as to exercise restraint or directing influence over something; specifically, his use of the computer mouse to open the images, locating the websites, and having the ability to print, save, or email the images once opened and viewed. The panel decision was therefore set aside and conviction reinstituted against Diodoro.

Diodoro appealed the en banc decision to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and was granted review of the following question: “Whether accessing and viewing child pornography over the internet constitutes ‘control’ of such pornography under [the statute].” Diodoro argued that in order to have control over the images, the Commonwealth must prove he had knowledge of their presence on his computer; further, he argued it is the legislature’s responsibility to enact a statute which provides fair notice that viewing child pornography constitutes an offense under the Sexual Abuse of Children statute. The Supreme Court heard the arguments and affirmed the ruling of the Superior Court. The Court agreed with the definition of control being used as to exercise restraint or direct influence. Further, the Court noted that had Diodoro saved or printed the images, he would have violated the possession element of the statute and been convicted as such. The Court reasoned that interpreting “possession or control” as not interchangeable would create a major loophole in the statute in which offenders could merely delete or not save child pornography upon intentional viewing. The purpose of the statute is to protect a compelling state interest (protecting children from sexual exploitation), and therefore must be interpreted broadly enough to punish those who intentionally access (but do not save) child pornography.

Child Pornography

Federal Law defines child pornography as “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, photograph, film, video, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where it a) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or b) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Possessing, Making, and Distributing child pornography is illegal in all 50 states, including Pennsylvania, and it is an offense which carries serious legal penalties.

If you have been arrested and charged with owning, making or distributing child pornography, or the sexual abuse of a child, the Law Offices of Marc Neff can help. For a confidential consultation, please contact our offices at 215-563-9800 or via email at marc@nefflawoffices.com.