Building a Defense For DC Child Pornography Charges
There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into preparing for a child pornography case, including everything from preparing the defendant to testify to reviewing all the available evidence. For this reason, it is imperative that if you are charged you consult with a DC child pornography lawyer as soon as possible so that they can begin working on your case and building a strong defense. To learn more about the different defenses available or how an attorney can help you, call and schedule a consultation today.
Important Issues to Look For In a Child Pornography Case
Some of the important issues to look for when building a defense are facts associated with the technology. For example:
- Where are the images stored on the computer?
- Where were they found?
- Are the images thumbnails?
Thumbnail images are the remnants of deleted images and are typically not located in a place on a computer where someone would be likely to see them. Thumbnail images are normally located in a cache, which is a file not usually visible to the average user of a computer.
An attorney will also look at the government’s evidence to determine the location of the images on a particular computer or handheld, the number of images, and whether the images were hidden. You can hide an image or any file by right clicking on the file. This makes it invisible to be on your desktop so you would not be able to see it.
In addition to these things, the defense will also examine how the images came to be in a particular location, whether they were downloaded, whether other people have access to the computer, and whether there are any emails related to obtaining the image. Overall all these issues are very important to look into and investigate when building a defense.
Other Things to Take Into Account
A defense attorney will also examine a particular computer or device to determine if it is shared, because computers are often shared. More than one person could have access to a computer, a phone, or to hard drives. This also includes looking at emails, chats, texts, and phone records to determine if someone else has had contact with these images or was responsible for the images being placed on a particular device.
There may be evidence indicating where the images came from, such as email, chat, text or phone records. This information can also be used to argue that there is evidence corroborating the placement of these images on a particular site which is unrelated to my client.
An attorney will also look for evidence to potentially develop an alibi; the time an image was downloaded or placed on to a computer, and who might have been on that computer at that time. This could be through work, or travel, or other types of records. This information could potentially be used as part of an alibi for defense.
What are the Constitutional Issues that Arise When Building a Child Pornography Case?
Fourth Amendment issues are prevalent in child pornography cases because law enforcement uses tools to attempt to spy on people, to gain access into their private conversations, and try to get access to their computers, cell phones, and other electronics.
Fourth Amendment issues are really important and include the reasonable expectation a person has regarding their use of the Internet, their computer, and their cell phone. There are other constitutional issues that are important in other types of criminal cases and are also important in a child pornography case. These are Fifth and Sixth Amendment issues related to what is said during interrogation by law enforcement.
Preparing to Testify
It is the defendant’s decision as to whether they choose to testify at a trial on these types of charges. However, in order to know whether you should be testifying, you must be well prepared to testify. An attorney will be able to help prepare you by going through a practice direct examination with you and asking you the questions he or she would ask you on the witness stand at trial. Your lawyer should also prepare you with practice cross-examination, which gives you experience answering questions that are likely to be asked by the prosecutor at trial.
It is only after several practice sessions that a decision can be made as to whether you should or should not testify. This decision can be made before the trial and changed at any time up to when a judge asks you if you would like to testify. If you decide you do not want to testify, you are required to answer a few questions from the judge that will be on the record, to indicate you understand that you have the right to testify or not testify.
How Important is Testifying on Your Own Behalf?
It is important to understand that because the nature of the images shown to a jury in a child pornography case are very disturbing images. If you can testify in your defense, you probably should. Jurors who have seen these images will want to hear you say you had nothing to do with them or that you have no knowledge of the images. Although jurors are supposed to keep an open mind and not pre-judge the case before they see all the evidence; many jurors are not able to do so once they have seen these pictures.
Hiring An Attorney
It is very important to look for an attorney experienced in these kinds of cases, an attorney who works very hard and keeps abreast of legal and technological issues. Technology is always changing and evolving; law enforcement techniques change constantly, and the law sometimes has to catch up to these changes.
Therefore, if you are in the position of needing an attorney for one of these charges, you want someone who understands the technology, has experience trying these types of cases, and has experience handling other types of criminal cases as well because that experience can transfer to this type of case. The attorney should be someone who works very hard, is available, and communicates with you.
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