Why Feds Prosecute Child Pornography Cases
Child pornography cases are some of the most highly publicized criminal matters in the country. Just within the past week, Florida new outlets featured several stories about suspects with pending child pornography charges and defendants who were recently convicted and sentenced. Unfortunately, many of these cases become come under public scrutiny even prior to any determination of guilt or innocence. In addition, federal law enforcement agents often take over these cases, subjecting defendants to possibility of incarceration in federal prison. These potential consequences exemplify the importance of having a criminal defense lawyer in your corner when faced with child pornography charges.
The Sun Sentinel recently reported on a Florida professional who was arrested and charged with federal child pornography crimes. Officials allege that the individual visited an internet chat room and tried to solicit sex with a 13-year-old. The conversation was actually part of an undercover operation and all alleged communications occurred with a law enforcement agent. He is also reportedly facing charges of sexual abuse against two minor girls.
A story in the Pensacola News Journal discusses the recent arrest of a Florida man who is charged with 25 counts of child pornography possession. According to reports, upon executing a search warrant of his home, police found a tablet allegedly containing multiple child pornography files.
The Tampa Bay Tribune is reporting about a St. Petersburg man who recently received an eight-year federal prison sentence following convictions for possessing and transporting child pornography. According to reports, an undercover investigation identified the individual as allegedly engaging in file sharing of child pornography, which prompted a search of his home. Agents reportedly recovered numerous devices, containing child pornography files.
State and Federal Law
As exemplified in the cases above, federal law enforcement is often involved in child pornography cases. Both the state of Florida and the federal government have statutes prohibiting child pornography. Under Florida law, it is unlawful to possess, distribute, transmit or manufacture any type of child pornography. The statute defines child pornography as “any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct.” Federal law makes it unlawful to produce, distribute, receive or possess any form of child pornography in interstate commerce. It defines child pornography as “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor.”
The reason why so many of these cases are tried in federal court revolves on the phrase “interstate commerce,” which applies whenever an individual uses the U.S. mail to receive or send child pornography across state lines. It also applies to internet usage, which is extremely common among these types of cases. Whenever a person is accused of transmitting or sharing child pornography on the internet, the federal government can take jurisdiction over the case.
The mandatory minimum sentence for a conviction under the federal child pornography statute is five years in prison.
If you are facing federal or state child pornography charges in a Florida, contact our Miami lawyers at Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC at (305) 330-3905 for a free and confidential consultation.