The Plea – Chapter Thirteen

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. …

Among the many mistakes an individual falsely accused of child molestation and/or possession of child pornography need to be aware of is giving law enforcement credit for wanting to do the best job they can. Law enforcement is over eager and will not follow proper procedure. In many small towns in Missouri law enforcement is often uneducated and too biased to do a job correctly. Their desire to apprehend individuals they believe possess and distribute child pornography prompts them to mishandle the case. They tend to be overzealous and do not follow the rules that prohibit unlawful search and seizure. This results in Fourth Amendment violations that ultimately allow for the suppression of key evidence. Make sure your attorney does a careful analysis to determine whether there may be a viable motion to suppress evidence or motion to quash or traverse a warrant. During the process of computer evidence collection and analysis by the law enforcement agency, the hardware or software may be compromised. Tainted evidence may also supply the accused with a defense to the charges.

So called “computer evidence” used in the situation involving my brother was acquired from the home he resided with his wife and children a full seventy-five days after he left the house. Hire a qualified computer specialist to review the material for you and your legal team. We did and learned that the last two people on the computer, well after my brother had left the home, were his teenage daughter and son. According to the report child pornography was accessed from the computer by the teenagers sixty-eight days after my brother was out of the home.

If you’ve hired a lawyer who shows any hesitation about going to trial, and many of them do because they just want to plead out cases, (it’s easier for them), fire that attorney on the spot.

Acquire all discovery from the prosecution, including an actual copy of the hard drive. Hire a qualified expert who deals in computer analysis and can determine when the illegal material was accessed, if it was accessed, and where on the hard drive it is located.

Stay abreast of developments in the law concerning issues such as the changing definitions of child pornography. The legal landscape is constantly being re-shaped by court interpretations of existing law. In some cases, a photograph of your child sleeping wearing nothing but a diaper or picture of your child taking a bath can be defined as child pornography.

Examine the circumstances of the seizure of the computer and/or search of the illegal materials to determine whether there is a viable motion to suppress evidence.

Find a way to take control of the case against you. Do not leave everything to attorney to do. Educate yourself. Don’t let fear of the system overrule good judgment. I recommend reading Evidence Discovery in Internet Pornography Cases.

Make sure you have adequate funding available before taking on an internet pornography case, as they can continue for years and are both complicated and costly to defend. This is where most innocent people get scared and take a plea. Think long and hard before you surrender to that. It could cost you more than money.

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