technician removing computer hard driveChild pornography cases in Georgia are prosecuted under the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor statute. In a child pornography case, the initial starting point is almost always the computer. The defense in these cases focuses on the computer and the how, what, when, where, and who:

  • How was the computer used to download child pornography?
  • When was the computer used to download that pornography?
  • Where was the computer physically located?
  • Where was the client at the time of the download?
  • Who downloaded the files, and who was it downloaded from?
  • And, of course, was the search of the computer and hard drive done lawfully.

You’ve noticed our focus on the computer. That’s because most child pornography cases are primarily based on computer-related evidence (though recently, more and more cases are based on images found on cell phones or in the cloud). Ensure the attorney handling your case is experienced with interpreting computer data and recognizing the type of evidence that can prove a client’s innocence. In many of these cases, you need a computer forensics expert to examine the hard drive to create a timeline concerning the activities that occurred immediately before and after a particular file was downloaded.

We Understand the Technology That Can Save You

Most of these cases involve using peer-to-peer network download services like BitTorrent, Ares, Gnutella, Shareaza, uTorrent, eMule, and others. Frequently, people download batches of files from these services to view adult pornography. Viewing adult pornography is legal. Sometimes, unbeknownst to the person downloading the files, these batches of files contain a number of images that are child pornography. The person downloading the files may not realize this until the file is clicked and accidentally viewed. The immediate response is, of course, to delete the file. However, the file will remain on the hard drive and be discoverable during a forensic search of the computer. Thus, a person can accidentally download an image of child pornography, delete the file, yet technically still be in possession of child pornography because the image is preserved on their hard drive. This is a situation where it becomes necessary to have a computer forensics expert examine the client’s hard drive and put together a timeline detailing the activity surrounding the downloading of the files.

A computer forensic examiner often finds that a handful of child pornography files are mixed in with multiple gigabytes of legal pornography. Additional questions that need to be answered concerning the search of a persons’ computer are:

  • What forensic tool did law enforcement use to search the hard drive and computer?
  • Where were the images found?
  • Were they found in allocated or unallocated space on the hard drive?
  • How was the evidence preserved?
  • Was there any evidence in the files that were deleted?
  • How many downloads were supposedly made?
  • In terms of all the pornography found on the hard drive, what percentage was child pornography in relation to legal pornography?

At the end of the day, these cases are difficult. Often, a client will come to us thinking they are dead in the water. Whether it’s because of the number of images found or because they have confessed before talking with us, they think they have no shot at a fair outcome. Sometimes they are right.

We Will Pursue Every Possible Defense

There are also plenty of situations where the confession was obtained legally and can’t be suppressed, or the digital evidence has the client’s “fingerprints” all over it. The client believes their case is over before we’ve even started. That leads us back to the original questions—what is the analysis? What procedures did law enforcement follow or not follow?

In those situations, does it mean the client is destined to go to prison? Absolutely not. Through the strict execution of our child pornography defense system, the client’s trust, and our unique practice, we have often secured either straight probation plea recommendations or minimal incarceration plea recommendations that the client thought would be impossible to obtain during our free initial consultation. And while our criminal defense system does not guarantee an outcome, we feel it is the best way to leverage the absolute best outcome for our clients who come to us feeling like they are in an impossible situation.

The Most Important Step Is The First One—Start Your Defense Today and Begin to Fight Back

The first thing everyone does when they’ve been arrested or charged with a child pornography case is look up the sentence. You probably already know the possible punishments for a child pornography crime are serious and involve prison and the loss of your freedom.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a child pornography crime, you need to contact a sex crime attorney immediately. The penalties you could be facing are immense, coupled with the consequences of having to register as a sex offender for life. To best fight these charges and protect your future and freedom, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer working for you.

Contact our firm without delay and schedule your free strategy session. The consultation is free, you’ll get your questions answered, and you’ll get the information you need to be informed about your specific situation, start preparing your defense, and start fighting back.

Brian Hobbs
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