Hundreds of pictures and more than a dozen videos found on a Chicago man’s computer have led to charges of possession of child pornography, a class 2 felony. If convicted, the charge carries a mandatory minimum of four to 15 years in prison, or 30 years if any of the images are of children under age 13. Conviction of possession of child pornography also requires registration as a sex offender.
Illinois Possession of Child Pornography
An Illinois resident commits the crime of possession of child pornography if he has in his possession any film, video or photographs (“photos”) of children under the age of 18 participating in any type of real or simulated sexual act. The person must know that the photos in his possession depict sexual acts, and he must know, or reasonably should know, that the children depicted are under the age of 18.
Defense against Illinois Charge of Possession of Child Pornography
Just because the police located images or videos depicting child pornography on your computer or other electronic device does not mean you have no defense. Evidence of photos on your computer are just that – proof that the images exist on the device. As discussed above, conviction for possession of child pornography requires that the defendant knew that the images were child pornography, and that the people depicted were under the age of 18. Without proving both of these facts, the prosecution cannot make a case against the defendant, and the result is an acquittal.
When building a defense against a Chicago charge of possession of child pornography, a defense attorney will examine all of the evidence to determine whether the prosecution can prove that you knowingly possessed child pornography, and that you were aware that the persons depicted were children. When examining the evidence, a criminal defense attorney will consider:
- Whether the search warrant was legally obtained and not based on false evidence;
- Whether the images were placed on the defendant’s computer during a time that the computer was in his possession and control. For example, an attorney’s forensic experts will examine computer records to determine whether the images could have been placed on the computer following the defendant’s arrest, or when it was at a computer repair shop;
- Whether anybody else had access to the defendant’s computer and could have downloaded the photos;
- Whether it can be proven that the defendant actually looked at the files, or was in any way aware they were on his computer. For example, could they have been downloaded on to his computer as part of a Trojan horse, malware or other computer hacking program;
- Whether a reasonable person would have known that the people depicted in the photos were under the age of 18, and;
- Whether it can be proven that the defendant downloaded or otherwise placed the images on his computer or other electronic device.
In any criminal case, our goal is to obtain an acquittal or outright dismissal of the charges. If, after a careful review of all of the evidence, either of those scenarios seem unlikely, then our goal is to work with the prosecution to win a reduction in charges or enter in to a plea agreement. Conviction on a charge of possession of child pornography is serious, and the Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C., will work diligently to achieve the best possible outcome. Continue reading