Federal child pornography charges are some of the hardest cases to defend. People who are charged, or under investigation, for possessing, receiving, or distributing child pornography are often deeply embarrassed by their situation. It is incredibly difficult to have this very private part of you so publicly exposed.
In our experience, the vast majority of people who are charged in these kinds of cases pose little or no danger to children. They are often people who have been in a very hard place in their lives and turned to the internet as a means of escape. Eventually, at some point, that internet habit took a turn. That doesn't make the conduct legal, but it is an important framework to understand with these kinds of cases.
Understanding what has happened in a person's life that led to these charges is an essential part of representing someone well in a child pornography charge.
One of the hardest parts of these cases is showing that just because someone looked at, or received, these images, doesn't put them in the same category as someone who produced them, or made money distributing them.
Many of our clients in these cases are highly skilled, educated, and successful people. They are the kinds of people who expect a lot of themselves and of their lives. Telling the story of how someone can have such a public face of success, but have a private life that can be different, is one of the most important tasks in representing someone on federal child pornography charges.
Unfortunately, the government is ratcheting up the sentences on people who possess, distribute, or produce child pornography. Many child pornography offenses carry a mandatory minimum sentence which requires that you spend years in prison if convicted. Furthermore, sex offender registration requirements can follow you for the rest of your life. Child pornography cases are very challenging; the government generally only brings them if they have forensic evidence linking a computer to a person and the computer to a server which was distributing child pornography.
There can be draconian statutory penalties for federal child pornography charges. Being convicted of receipt of child pornography, for example, or distribution, carries a five-year mandatory minimum prison term.