A Wheaton man was arrested in late January and charged with four counts of possession of child pornography. A forensic examination of the defendant’s home computer, which was seized following the issuance of a search warrant, uncovered evidence of child pornography that had been downloaded to, and distributed from, the computer.
Defense of DuPage County Possession of Child Pornography
In Illinois, a defendant is guilty of possession of child pornography if he knowingly possesses any visual depiction of a child engaged in a sexual act. Possession of child pornography is a specific intent crime. If the defendant did not intend to have the pornography in his possession – if it was obtained without his knowledge – then he cannot be found guilty, as “knowingly” is a specific element of the crime.
In defending against a possession of child pornography case, it is extremely important to examine all of the facts to determine if any of the evidence raises the possibility that the defendant did not knowingly possess the photographs or other visual depictions. A forensic examination of the defendant’s computer by computer expert, independent of the police and prosecutor’s examination(s), would need to be conducted to help answer the following questions. A “yes” answer for any of them would raise reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant knowingly came into possession of child pornography:
- Did a third-party have access to the defendant’s computer?
- Were the pornographic images purposely downloaded, or were they unknowingly installed as part of an adware or malware attack?
- Were the images installed via an e-mail attachment that was opened?
- Were the images downloaded after clicking on a link in an e-mail?
- Were the images obtained from a site that a reasonable person would have known had child pornography?
The police investigation also found that the images on the defendant’s computer were distributed. A person is guilty of distribution if he knowingly distributes, or offers to distribute, any visual depiction of a child engaged in any sexual act. Again, the defendant must have had knowledge that he was distributing pornographic images. It could not have been done on accident or through no fault of his own.
A complete examination of the defendant’s computer by an independent computer expert would need to be done to help answer the following questions:
- Did anybody have access to the defendant’s computer at the time the photos were distributed?
- Does anybody else know the defendant’s login and password for his computer and/or e-mail account?
- Was the defendant’s e-mail system hacked?
- Did the defendant’s computer contain any spam, malware, adware, or other virus laden program that sent the e-mails without his knowledge?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it would raise reasonable doubt that the defendant had the requisite knowledge to satisfy that specific element of the crime. The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C., has access to a team of independent computer experts who will thoroughly examine the defendant’s computer, as well as review the police and prosecution experts’ report, to determine if any evidence supports the theory that the defendant had no knowledge that the pornographic images were downloaded to, or distributed by, his computer.
Chicago Possession of Child Pornography Attorney
Conviction of any child pornography carries with it the potential for serious prison time, in addition to the negative social stigma that lasts long after any prison sentence has been served. It is important that you have an attorney with you every step of the way. That’s why if you are arrested for any sex crime, you should contact Chicago child pornography attorney David L. Freidberg without delay. With close to 20 years’ experience handling all Chicago sex crimes and child pornography cases, David L. Freidberg has the knowledge you need to fight these serious charges. Serving clients in Skokie, DuPage County and the greater Chicago area, someone is available 24/7 to take your call. Contact us toll-free today at 312-560-7100, or complete our convenient web form, to schedule a consultation.