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D.C. Federal Child Pornography Trial Process

In a child pornography case, experts are usually needed to discuss the forensic images or decide whether the person charged is a pedophile. Often, the issue is not whether the person is a pedophile, but whether the images were downloaded or possessed. If you have been charged with the possession of child pornography, it may be in your best interest to contact a criminal attorney. An attorney may help you through the D.C. Federal child pornography trial process. The trial process can be long, and complicated, but an attorney’s knowledge may be helpful.

Trial Preparation Process

A good lawyer prepares the accused for trial by going over the defense strategy and discussing the witnesses who are testifying on the prosecution and the defense sides. The lawyer reviews the key issue of whether the defendant will testify at their own trial. The accused must be prepared and know what is like to be questioned in court and to be crossed examined. They should know the strong points of their testimony and understand the potential vulnerabilities of their case. With that information, the person can make an intelligent decision about testifying.

Evidence Refusal and the Prosecution

It is the government’s job to make their case. A good defense team is well-prepared and looks for ways to show the government’s case is not what it seems to be. They look at the forensic evidence the government has, investigate the prosecution’s witnesses, and confer with the defendant about the charges. The criminal lawyer could review the documents associated with the case, examines images, and hire a consultant with expertise.

Defense Strategies

There is a variety of strategies for a defense in a child pornography case. The defense is usually forensically related. Criminal lawyers evaluate the government’s claims to determine whether they make sense. When there is a discrepancy between the forensics and the government’s claims, the lawyer shows the jury why the government’s case is incorrect. When there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant is found guilty.

Sometimes, the defense strategy is about establishing an alibi for the time frame during which images were received and downloaded. The lawyer determines who else had access to an electronic device at a specific time. Sometimes, the defendant was not the person using the device to download or store images of child pornography.

What if it is Unknown the Subject is a Minor?

Not knowing that someone is a minor is not a defense. However, it could be a defense if the age of the person cannot be established conclusively. If the person looks 17 or 18, that is right on the line. Those types of cases are often not charged because it can be too hard to determine objectively whether a person is underage.

Having No Knowledge of the Images

When someone does not know that an image is on their computer, that is a defense to possession and receipt of child pornography. To possess an image, one must have knowledge of it and be able to exercise control over it. If someone does not realize the images are on their computer, that is a defense and it is a similar defense for receipt of child pornography.

Not viewing the image is not a legal defense. It might be part of a factual scenario where the individual did not know the image was on their computer or electronic device. The defense lawyer could prove during a trial that the image was never opened. Lack of knowledge could be one fact in building a defense, but the fact that an image was not opened is not a defense by itself.

Constitutional Issues

In a child pornography case, constitutional issues may involve the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution and unreasonable searches and seizures. The issue in child pornography cases is what can be searched. So much of a person’s life is now contained on a cellphone or can be accessed through a cellphone. Recent court decisions across the country have found that cellphone searches are covered by the Fourth Amendment and require a warrant to search in most cases.

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution are also relevant because they protect the statements a person makes to law enforcement and the context in which the statements are made.

Important Things to Look For When Contacting an Attorney

It is important to find a law firm that is experienced with these cases because they are complex, with many different issues that must be examined. The person needs a lawyer who is up-to-date with developments in technology used by law enforcement to investigate these cases. Additionally, the lawyer needs to understand the technologies that are sometimes alleged to have been used in the possession or receipt of child pornography.

An experienced criminal law attorney knows the recent court decisions and how they are involved regarding the type of technology and child pornography cases. If you are starting the D.C. federal child pornography trial process, you might want to contact an experienced federal criminal lawyer. An attorney may be able to fight on your behalf.

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