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DC Federal Child Pornography Investigation Process

Child pornography is a federal offense that can have serious consequences for individuals who are charged. That is why investigations of child pornography charges are often thorough and vigorous. If you want to know more about the DC federal child pornography investigation process, speak with a knowledgeable child pornography attorney that could answer your questions. A capable defense lawyer could advocate for you.

Federal Agencies in Child Pornography Cases

The federal agencies involved in the DC federal child pornography investigation process include the FBI and Homeland Security. When the case involves the workplace, the Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, or other relevant agency handles the case.

Elements the Prosecution Must Prove

In a possession of child pornography case, the prosecution must prove child pornography, which is an image of a someone underage engaging in a sex act. The person in possession of the child pornography is charged with possessing it and that they had knowledge of it and had the power and intent to control it.

Law enforcement agents question people after a search warrant is issued and an image is found on a computer. The agent tries to identify the owner of the computer and determines whether the computer has password protection and whether other people have access to the computer. Once an electronic device is seized following a search warrant, an extractor is used to identify the images are on a device and determine whether the images are child pornography.

Constitutional Issues in Child Pornography Cases

Constitutional issues that commonly come up in child pornography cases are Fourth and Fifth Amendment issues regarding statements made to law enforcement. Privacy issues related to cell phones are now involved because they store so much information about all aspects of a person’s life. Cellphones have financial information, travel information, and other kinds of personal information. The Supreme Court recognizes that law enforcement needs to get a warrant to search somebody’s phone except under limited circumstances.

Defense’s Side of the Investigation

On the defense side of the DC federal child pornography investigation process, it is important to understand who had access to certain electronic devices when the devices are involved in the crime. Sometimes, the case involves who had access to a certain Wi-Fi network because it is impossible to identify what electronic device has the images.

Sometimes it comes down to establishing an alibi when an image is found on a computer that was accessible to multiple users. The attorney figures out when and how often the image was downloaded and verifies their client’s alibi when the images were downloading. Often those images are hidden on a computer sitting on a desk out in the open, so it is important to a forensic investigation.

Resources a DC Child Pornography Attorney Could Use

During the DC federal child pornography investigation process, an attorney may hire an expert in forensic issues related to electronic devices that are usually seen in these cases to identify the images, determine how they got there, and identify the number of images. The attorney might also engage a doctor to evaluate the defendant because judges are always concerned when dealing with pedophiles.

A doctor can evaluate an individual and may determine that the person is not a pedophile. That is important for a judge to know when making decisions about the person’s future and whether to hold someone in jail. A defense attorney might use a polygraph or lie detector exam even though they are not admissible in court because they can be useful for negotiation and as potential mitigating evidence for the same reason. If an individual has been charged with a child pornography offense, they should consult a capable child pornography attorney that could pursue a positive outcome for them.

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