Creation & Distribution of Child Pornography
The felony offenses of production or distribution of child pornography are grave criminal charges that can result in a lengthy term in state prison, substantial fines, and registration as a sex offender. Whether you are involved in a situation that simply looks bad at first glance, or you are arrested with pornographic images of children on your computer, the seriousness of the charges necessitate the best in criminal defense. Chicago criminal defense attorney David L. Freidberg has been given a rating of “excellent” by AVVO, which reviews attorneys throughout the United States.
Because Mr. Freidberg has been handling major felony cases for over two decades, he has the legal knowledge and technical expertise to effectively challenge state and federal prosecutors. Many “child porn” prosecutions are based on files downloaded from peer-to-peer file sharing servers after the offending files are downloaded by mistake. Files containing graphic images of child nudity or sex acts also can be embedded in legitimate unrelated files that are downloaded and traced back to an accused.
Anyone who has been contacted by law enforcement or caught with illicit images of children should immediately invoke their right to remain silent and insist that an attorney be present during any questioning. The prisons of Illinois are overflowing with individuals who provided incriminating information or confessions because they were motivated by fear and/or embarrassment. Law enforcement authorities are not interested in “clearing things up” or “getting your side of the story;” rather, they are trying to uncover evidence that could be used to send you to prison for many years.
Mr. Freidberg, along with his team of seasoned associates and forensic experts, carefully analyze the properties of offending files and images, which constitute the foundation of the evidence against our clients. We meticulously examine the evidence used to implicate you by reviewing the actual computer system and files. Our experts have the ability to determine when the file was downloaded and deleted, and where it was stored on your computer. Our forensics report can be used to establish that someone else may have downloaded the illicit material or that the material was stored on your computer without your knowledge. Mr. Freidberg’s experience with the technical aspect of these cases provides a basis to build successful defense strategies.Understanding Charges of Production and Distribution of Child Porn
Under 720 ILCS 5/11-20.1, Illinois law defines “child pornography” as photos, films, video or other visual medium or reproductions of a child who an individual knows or reasonably should know is under the age of 18 and actually, or by simulation, engaged in the following:
- Any act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with another person or animal
- Act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a child’s sex organs and the mouth, anus or sex organs of another
- Act of masturbation
- Object of or engaged in lewd fondling, touching or caressing of another person or animal
- Act of urination or excretion in a sexual context
- Depictions of sadomasochistic, sadistic or bondage types of abuse
- Nude, semi-clothed or transparent clothing of the genitals, pubic region, buttocks or breasts of a girl in a pose, photo or lewd exhibition
Examples of typical situations that give rise to a charge of distribution or production of child pornography include:
- Downloading or transmitting images or files classified as child pornography via the web
- Using video, photos or digital media to create child pornography
- Transmitting sexually explicit texts or images to a minor or encouraging a minor to send sexually explicit pictures or texts
- Distribution of images of minors engaged in conduct of a sexual nature by mail, internet or in person
The penalties associated with the creation and distribution of pornographic images of children are extremely severe. The potential exposure includes:
- Creation of Child Pornography: The minimum mandatory sentence for this offense is 10 years in jail, although the actual prison sentence can be substantially longer.
- Distribution of Child Pornography: This offense carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and can result in a sentence of 20 years in an Illinois penitentiary.
Conviction of an offense involving the transmission or creation of pornographic images of kids also carries other significant consequences. A conviction will carry substantial fines and the requirement that you register as a sex offender. The damage to your personal and professional reputation will endure for a lifetime, so you need a seasoned advocate in your corner who understands his role is not to judge but to tenaciously defend your future.Potential Defense Strategies to Cook County Child Pornography Offenses
Although these charges are extremely serious, there are potential defenses that our Illinois child pornography criminal defense law firm has used effectively that include:
- Reasonable Belief Over 18: Illinois law permits an accused to raise an affirmative defense based on a reasonable belief that the alleged victim was 18 or older. Because the “reasonable belief” is an objective standard, the accused must take affirmative action as part of a bona fide inquiry to determine the purported victim’s age.
- Lack of Knowledge: If the file is inadvertently downloaded as a hidden file from a peer-to-peer network or other source, the accused lack of knowledge that the illicit images are part of the file being transmitted could constitute a viable defense.
- Miranda Violations/Lack of Voluntariness: If an accused makes incriminating statements or provides a “confession,” these disclosures might be subject to suppression if they are obtained in violation of your Miranda rights or through coercion, which negates the voluntary nature of the statements.
- Unlawful Searches/Lack of Warrant: Law enforcement agents cannot simply search your computer for child pornography without a warrant or valid exception to the warrant requirement. The search warrant requirement is particularly likely to provide protection if your computer is located inside your home. If law enforcement authorities pursue a search without a warrant or legitimate exception, this can constitute a basis to suppress all evidence obtained during the search, including your computer and any files or images stored on the device. Even if a search is conducted based on a warrant supported by sufficient probable cause, the officers’ execution of the warrant might exceed the scope of the authorization in the warrant.
The Chicago Criminal Defense Law Firm of David L. Freidberg, P.C. is dedicated to protecting the rights of citizens from overzealous law enforcement officers and prosecutors who engage in a rush to judgment. We carefully analyze the underlying facts and law enforcement tactics so that we can build the strongest factual and procedural defenses when defending clients against state and federal charges of distributing or producing pornographic depictions of children. We offer a free consultation, so please do not hesitate to contact us or call 312-560-7100 today. We are available 24/7 for your convenience. Let us start protecting your future now!