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Building a DC Federal Child Pornography Defense

There are different potential defenses for each federal sex crime charge. The specifics of building a DC federal child pornography defense depend on the facts of the individual case. When someone is accused of possession or receipt of child pornography, one of the main defenses is access to the computer because the images are usually found on a computer .  When more than one person had access to the computer, that could be a potential defense.

The other potential defense relates to the images found because sometimes the images found are not actually images. They are traces of images that are recreated by a forensic program used by the government when they found a hard drive. They are remnants of images that were supposedly deleted. When there are gaps in the pixels of the image, the forensic program estimates what those pixels would look like and that provides a potential defense.

Defenses for Charges of Travel

For charges of travel with the intent to engage in illicit sex with a minor, the defense often revolves around the person’s intent when the travel occurred. There is an intensive examination of the chat because normally these cases are brought when there is some chat between a person and the undercover officer online, through a text application, or by phone. A lot rests on things such as:

  • The particular words that were used
  • Where the chat originated
  • What type of website was used

Online Enticement Defense

With respect to online enticement charges, there is case law throughout the federal districts about what constitutes enticement. There is a lot of debate about the words that must be used and what must be proven by the government for a charge to be sustained. The government must prove that someone actually enticed, induced, or persuaded a minor online to have sex.

The usual scenario involves an undercover officer talking to a suspect. The undercover officer is not posing as a minor. They are posing as someone who knows a minor. The question is whether the person actually used language that persuaded the minor through the intermediary. The defense in those types of cases is quite technical.

Elements of a Strong Defense

Building a DC federal child pornography defense is challenging, and if a case is to be strong, there are a number of elements that must be included. A great deal of investigation is needed including an investigation into the background of the client. In these cases, a person’s potential predisposition or a lack of predisposition to have an interest in children becomes extremely important.

Evaluation and Polygraph

Occasionally, a person is evaluated by a mental health professional. Polygraph examinations can be used and the defense lawyer does an intensive examination of the person’s prior Internet history to see if there are any prior searches, chats, videos, and similar things that indicate an interest in children.

The defense lawyer examines the transaction of the chat with the undercover agent. They look at the forensic evidence in possession or receipt of child pornography cases because that could become an important part of building a DC federal child pornography defense. The defense lawyer may hire a forensic expert to look at the hard drives and the images and provide additional insight to potential defenses.

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