In the world of Internet and Computer Sex crimes in Oklahoma, there are a lot of different charges that you need to worry about. Most often, what I see are possession of child pornography, manufacturing child pornography, aggravated possession of child pornography, soliciting a lewd act or a lewd proposal to the minor is what it's called, or sexual communication with a minor.
The first two charges, child pornography and manufacturing child pornography, either one of those carries up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. Same range of punishment for possessing it as for manufacturing it. What is different is possession of child porn is only a level one registration offense, meaning up to 15 years of registration. If you manufacture it, you're looking at level three registration. That's a significant difference since it's lifetime registration as an aggravated sex offender. Aggravated Possession of Child Porn is when you possess over 100 files (images, videos, etc) containing child porn. The sentencing range is increased to life in prison on aggravated possession charges.
CHILD PORN CASES ARE TOUGH TO WIN OUTRIGHT
Child pornography cases, beyond their staggeringly high range of punishment, are tough to win outright, but ultimately these cases can be defended. These cases take a couple different various forms. The first is you can have nude pictures of your underage girlfriend, let's say, either current or former, on your phone, computer, iPad, whatever. Another possibility is that you are downloading child porn from one of the peer to peer networks out there, or you are out there in the dark web purchasing it. Somehow, someway, someone stumbles over child pornography (or what they believe is child porn) either being downloaded or on one of your digital devices.
Most often the cases are peer to peer network download cases where you may have used Ares or Bit Torrent or Nutella, etc. and where you are either purposely or accidentally downloading child pornography. An increasing number of cases come from clients who have nude pictures of a minor, your girlfriend or ex-girlfriend who is under the age of 18, on your phone or your computer or up in the cloud. So, either you are out there on a peer to peer network with child pornography or your girlfriend's underage and you have some nude pictures of her or videos of her.
Child pornography is a specific intent crime. Your conduct in possessing that child pornography must be willful. You must know the nature and character of the images, files, and videos, but not necessarily the exact content of the files or that you even actually viewed the file.
In child pornography cases, the initial starting place for my defense should almost always be the same: the computer. The how, the when, the where, the who, and the was. How was the computer used to download child pornography? When was the computer used to download that pornography? Where was the computer at? Where were you at? Who downloaded the child pornography, and who was it downloaded from? And was the search of that computer done lawfully?
From there I typically go on to determine how the computer was searched. Did law enforcement use a forensic tool kit or some other type of forensic device to search the hard drive and the computer itself? How was the evidence preserved? Where were the images found? Were they found in the unallocated space or the allocated space? Was there any evidence of deletion? What were the number of downloads that were supposedly made? What percentage of all of the pornography that's found on the computer, what percentage of it is child pornography in relation to the regular pornography? It's quite often that you might see just a handful of child pornography files mixed in with gigabyte after gigabyte after gigabyte of regular, perfectly legal pornography.
What are the ages of the children? Is the state going to employ medical experts to actually prove these individuals in the photographs are underage? Do the photos or videos even depict a real child? The number of those depictions, is it over 100 or not, meaning is it aggravated possession or not, because it changes the range of punishment. The type of depiction. Was it sexual, non-sexual, was there nudity, or was there no nudity. I must engage in a deliberate examination of that element of willfulness, the knowledge requirement. How did the defendant receive the images or the file? Was it from a bulk download or an individual search that they did off of, let's say, Bit Torrent?
If there is nudity, you have to go one step further. Is the actual exhibition of that person's body and genitals considered lewd? Do the images have the purpose of sexual stimulation to the viewer?
In these child porn cases, we are not going to receive these files or images or even copies of the hard drive in the beginning of the case. More than likely we will actually never get a full-blown copy, period, because the images/files are considered contraband material. Even your attorney is not supposed to be in possession of contraband material. But there are situations where if we need to employ an expert, we can get a full-blown copy of the disk and have our expert - sometimes they'll allow us to take it and send it to the expert to examine, other times they'll require the expert to physically come to their location and to examine it. But regardless, we're not going to have it in the beginning.
All of this is to say these cases are complicated. These cases are exceptionally difficult. The vast majority of the time, when they are set upon us, the client believes their goose is cooked. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes law enforcement has just got them. There are plenty of situations where the client has confessed to the crime, and I cannot get the confession suppressed. Other times the DA has all of the digital evidence they need along with a confession and the client’s “fingerprints” all over it. The client is convinced their case is over before it even started. But again, what is the analysis? What is the examination?
Does all of this mean that we will not be able to keep the client out of prison? Absolutely not. Time and time again we have these very cases where through the ruthless execution of my exclusive defense system, combined with my unique practice and my client’s trust, I have been able to secure either straight probation plea recommendations or short periods of incarceration that seemed impossible when the client first came in to see me. My defense system does not guarantee an outcome, but I am convinced there is not a better way to squeeze the best possible outcome out of a seemingly impossible situation for my clients.
Have You Been Charged With a Sex Crime in the Tulsa, OK Area?
If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call 918.384.0850 for your initial strategy session. We are proud to serve Tulsa and all surrounding areas.