Child Pornography

Views from Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Joseph Shemaria — and Suggested Ways to Beat Federal Child Pornography Charges

Joe Shemaria has been practicing federal criminal defense since June 29, 1970. However, it was until the advent of the Internet that child pornography offenses became so ever more popular with federal law enforcement agencies. In 1998, Congress passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998 and federal law enforcement agencies targeted those suspected of downloading kiddy porn, as it is commonly known. These crimes carry extremely harsh penalties, oftentimes carrying a minimum mandatory prison sentence and also require lifetime sex offender registration. They can literally destroy a person's life if he is wrongfully convicted. These offenses seem to be almost exclusively directed at adult males caught with possessing, receiving, manufacturing and/or distributing books, magazines, periodicals, and films, (most often through digital downloads from peer-to-peer websites such as LimeWire, GigaTribe, and The Pirate Bay, just to name a few) containing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

In order for the Government to prove a defendant guilty of the crime of possession of child pornography in violation of Title 18, section 2252, et seq., the Government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • First, that the defendant knowingly possessed the digital photographs and/or videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct;

  • Second, that the defendant knew the visual depiction contained in the digital photographs and/or videos actually contained minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct;

  • Third, that the defendant knew that the visual depictions were produced using materials that have been transferred via computer (or other means).

“Visual depiction” is meant to include undeveloped film and video tape, as well as data that have been stored on a computer disk, hard drive or other types of computer memory by electronic means that is capable of conversion into a visual image. Further, a “minor” is any person who is under the age of 18 years. Oftentimes, even criminal defense attorneys believe the term “minor” refers to any person who is under the age of 21 years– this is incorrect under federal criminal law. The term “sexually explicit conduct” means actual and/or simulated sexual intercourse, beastiality, masturbation, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person.

Only an experienced federal criminal defense attorney, such as Joe Shemaria, or somebody with his qualifications and experience should dare step into the federal courtroom to defend someone charged with one of these heinous charges that carry lifetime consequences, affecting almost every aspect of the defendant's life. Many defendants are actually visually depicted on the Internet in certain states, including some of the most advanced and progressive states such as California. Although many criminal defense attorneys, whether federal or state, tend to shy away from these types of cases perhaps due to the fact that they have children of their own and believe that these offenses are utterly disgusting and despicable, true to the core federal criminal defense attorneys do not shy away from representing persons (innocent or guilty) charged with child pornography offenses.

If you've been charged with a child pornography offense, your future could not be more in danger if you do not have a highly experienced federal criminal defense lawyer such as Joe Shemaria on your side. . . . In a case such as this, losing is not an option and taking a chance on an inexperienced federal criminal defense lawyer can be hazardous to your future, as well as the future of your family, friends, employment and enjoyment of life.

Joe Shemaria's Defenses for Federal Child Pornography Charges

This is not necessarily a particularly difficult crime to defend. Once an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer, such as Joe Shemaria, gets the “discovery” (all of the law enforcement agents and officers' reports, notes, surveillance, returns on search warrants to Internet Service Providers, local utility companies, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles photographs, as well as statements of any percipient witnesses and, of course, statements of the defendant himself), he goes through it with a microscope. These types of cases raise the hair on the backs of most federal law enforcement agents assigned to investigate child pornography type crimes. Many, if not most, of these agents think persons engaged in this type of activity are “sickos” that should be put away in a federal prison for a long, long time, if not forever.

Joe Shemaria uses his team of experts that he has relied upon and worked with for years on child pornography cases. A highly qualified and experienced forensic computer expert is absolutely mandatory to determine if and when the alleged child pornography was downloaded, by whom, when, and whether the digital material that allegedly contains child pornography has been tampered with, removed from a portion of a computer where it is not readily available to where it is clearly readily available, and other possible law enforcement tampering with the suspect's computers, mass memory storage devices, CDs, DVDs and thumb drives, etc.

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