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Child Pornography - Internet Sex Crimes

Child Pornography Charge - WITHDRAWN

Navy E-6 on TAD orders let his roommate borrow his laptop. While looking for music, the roommate found several images/movies of child porn and immediately contacted NCIS. After a forensic evaluation was conducted by NCIS, our client was charged with possession of child pornography. At the Art. 32, we were able to establish that there was insufficient evidence to support a probable cause determination, resulting in a recommendation from the investigating officer that the charge be withdrawn. The convening authority followed the recommendation and the CHARGE WAS WITHDRAWN, enabling our client to avoid prosecution and to continue his career.


Child Pornography Charge - REDUCED SENTENCE

A local shipyard worker contacted us after being charged with Possession of Child Pornography, a class 6 Felony, facing five years in prison. A family member had found a CD with hundreds of images of child pornography on it, as well as pictures of neighborhood children that were taken by our client, all of which occurred several years earlier. In Virginia, each image of child pornography constitutes a separate offense, meaning he could have been facing hundreds of charges of possession of child pornography, not to mention the additional scrutiny that was inevitable if the court heard about photographs of neighborhood children on the same disk. After immediately contacting the prosecutor to discuss the case, we began to negotiate a plea agreement. Her first offer, which we refused, was for a cap of two years of active incarceration upon a guilty plea. After negotiations, the prosecutor acquiesced to an agreed-upon period of active incarceration of THREE MONTHS. At the sentencing proceeding, the judge granted our client work-release, meaning he is released from jail during the weekdays to return to his employment.


Child Pornography Charge - REDUCED SENTENCE

Enlisted member of the Navy was the subject of FBI investigation for child pornography. An undercover FBI agent conducted a search on a peer-to-peer sharing program using a known child porn related search term, which gave the agent access into our client's computer via the peer-to-peer program, allowing the agent to obtain multiple images of suspected child porn from our client's computer without his knowledge. Our client had retained the services of another attorney, who had been in contact with the federal authorities; however that attorney had apparently not promptly responded to the federal authorities.

Our client terminated that attorney and retained our firm at which time we immediately contacted the federal authorities to learn that our client's case was going to be presented to a Grand Jury for indictment that week on a charge of distribution of child pornography.

After reviewing the evidence in the case with the US Attorney's office, we were able to secure a plea agreement for a plea to one count of possession of child pornography, rather than distribution which was a much more serious offense. Under the sentencing guidelines, our client was facing 97-120 months of prison for possession of child pornography. Upon presentation of an exceptionally large sentencing package regarding our client's character, to include 39 character letters and numerous supporting documents, we secured a sentence of 66 months, significantly less than the applicable sentencing guidelines of 97-120 months. Had our client been faced with the distribution conviction as he was heading for with the other attorney, he would have faced guidelines of 151-188 months.


Child Pornography Charge - REDUCED SENTENCE
Our client's home was searched by federal authorities after an investigation revealed he had purchased a month's membership in a pornography website that involved child pornography. Upon forensic examination of the computer and media seized during the search, 31 images and 21 videos of suspected child porn was recovered. Under federal law, each video is deemed to contain 75 images, equating to over 1600 "images". Upon receipt of the "target letter" several months after the search, the intended charge of "receipt of child pornography" was reduced to "possession", which lowered our client's exposure to confinement under the federal sentencing guidelines. Our client entered a plea to one count of possession of child pornography and a pre-sentence report was prepared by the probation officer, which advised the court that due to the length of one of the videos, the guideline range of 51-63 months was subject to being increased. In our meeting with the probation officer, we were able to secure removal of consideration of that subject video, in addition to a second video from the report, thereby eliminating the basis for an increase in the guidelines above 63 months. At the sentencing hearing, we were able to secure a sentence of only 24 months, which was 27 month below the low end of the sentencing guidelines. In the federal court system, it is extremely rare that a judge will sentence below the applicable guidelines.


Child Pornography - Computer Sex Crimes - PROBATION
Client was charged in state court with distribution of child pornography, attempted indecent liberties and use of a computer for solicitation of a child – he was facing 20 years of prison. In a negotiated plea agreement, we were able to get the solicitation charge withdrawn, upon a guilty plea to the two remaining offenses, with a sentencing cap of 4 years. Sentencing guidelines called for a confinement range of 1 year, 2 months to 5 years, 3 months. Upon presentation of our case in sentencing, we were able to secure a ruling from the judge that he would defer imposition of any sentencing for a period of 15 years on both charges, with a 15 year period of probation. Despite full expectation by our client and his family that he would be going to prison that day for up to four years, our client walked out of court with his family, avoiding any sentence being imposed upon him.


Soliciting A Minor Over the Internet - REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR
Our client, a Navy Petty Officer, was charged with two counts of soliciting a minor over the internet for sexual purposes and was facing twenty (15) years in prison. Through negotiations with the Commonwealth's Attorney, his charges were reduced to two non-sexual misdemeanors and 30 days in jail.


Soliciting A Minor Over the Internet - REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR
Our client was charged with two counts of soliciting a minor over the internet for sexual purposes and was facing twenty (20) years in prison. Through negotiations with the Commonwealth's Attorney, his charges were reduced to two non-sexual misdemeanors and 30 days in jail.


Soliciting A Minor Over the Internet - REDUCED SENTENCE - MILITARY CAREER RETAINED
Our client was the subject of an internet sting operation by military authorities. After several on-line instant message chats with a person he thought was a 14 year old girl, he arranged to meet the girl for the purpose of engaging in sexual relations. Upon arrival at the meeting place, he was apprehended by the authorities for on-line solicitation of a minor to engage in carnal knowledge. After his apprehension, he left his command without authority and missed ship's movement. Through extensive pre-trial negotiations we were able to secure a pre-trial agreement that called for the dismissal of a charge of attempt to communicate indecent language to a minor, as well as missing movement, with a sentencing limitation that would suspend all confinement in excess of one year. After presentation of evidence and argument at the sentencing phase of our trial, our client was sentenced to serve only 85 days of confinement, in addition to other military punishments. Our client was returned to military duties after the trial.


Soliciting A Minor Over the Internet - REDUCED SENTENCING
Our client was charged by the military with attempting to communicate indecent language to a child, as well four counts of using the internet to solicit a minor for immoral purposes, attempted transfer of obscene materials, as well as possession and distribution of child pornography. After our office was retained, we were able to negotiate a pre-trial agreement that provided for the case being referred to a lower level of trial and we were also able to secure the withdrawal of two of the counts relating to using the internet to solicit a minor and to attempt to transfer obscene material. Although the judge sentenced our client to 12 months of confinement, in addition to other forms of military punishment, as well as a fine of $10,000.00, we were later able to secure a reduction of the sentence to 6 months and the fine was not approved.


Child Pornography Charge - WITHDRAWN

Navy E-6 on TAD orders let his roommate borrow his laptop. While looking for music, the roommate found several images/movies of child porn and immediately contacted NCIS. After a forensic evaluation was conducted by NCIS, our client was charged with possession of child pornography. At the Art. 32, we were able to establish that there was insufficient evidence to support a probable cause determination, resulting in a recommendation from the investigating officer that the charge be withdrawn. The convening authority followed the recommendation and the CHARGE WAS WITHDRAWN, enabling our client to avoid prosecution and to continue his career.

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