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Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter



Download Our Free Guide

Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter





Oakland Child Pornography Investigations

Oakland child pornography investigations often involve the use of undercover or sting operations from local law enforcement. Local police departments and local sheriff’s offices conduct these investigations routinely to find and arrest people for possession or distribution of illicit materials. To try to catch wider operations, joint task forces may become involved. After a police report is submitted for case evaluation, the District Attorney’s Office takes over.

If you were charged with child pornography possession or distribution, let a skilled defense attorney handle your case. Aggressive defense lawyers have extensive experience in the local courts, and they know what tactics the prosecution may use against you.

Evidence in Child Pornography Cases

The evidence typically used in Oakland child pornography prosecutions is the materials. In most child pornography cases today, this evidence is found electronically possessed on computers or smartphone devices. However, sometimes hard copies are involved, such as photographs, magazines, or artwork. In some cases, the person in the image can be identified and is available to provide a statement about their age at the time the image was created.

In a distribution case, law enforcement seeks the material plus evidence of the distribution. This could be anything indicating the suspect either sold or gave away the material, such as text messages, postings on social media, or recorded phone calls between the distributor and the purchaser.

How Law Enforcement Collects Evidence

In most Oakland child pornography investigations, the bulk of the evidence comes from forensics. After search warrants are executed by the judges, the computers get seized and the pornography that is on the computer is removed from the hard drive and examined by forensic experts within law enforcement. Officers also use more conventional tools or tactics, such as interrogations and gathering witness statements.

Because law enforcement is allowed to be untruthful in these investigations, it is important for suspects to have skilled defense attorneys in their corner. A dedicated child pornography lawyer could help them avoid the common pitfalls of saying too much to the wrong person. It is easy for law enforcement to take statements out of context or use peoples’ words against them.

Elements the Prosecution Needs to Prove

The prosecution needs to prove three things in the possession of child pornography cases. There has to be an image of a minor under the age of 18 depicting the minor engaging in or simulating sexual conduct. Furthermore, the minor cannot be emancipated or engaged in the sexual act with their spouse. Finally, the accused individual must have knowledge that the image is in his or her possession. Those three elements – material, minor, and sexual conduct – have specific definitions. For the prosecution to successfully secure a conviction, all three elements have to be there.

Oftentimes, these cases hinge on establishing the age of somebody in a photograph. For example, a person can be over the age of 18 but look younger, and this cannot be a basis for conviction; the person depicted has to be under 18. Another key issue to explore is whether or not the images depicted falls within the perimeters of the definition of sexual conduct. If it does not, there could not be a conviction.

Constitutional Issues

The biggest constitutional issue that commonly comes up in child pornography cases is the Fourth Amendment against unlawful searches and seizures. Most arrests and charges take place after law enforcement has seized evidence following a search warrant of somebody’s computer, house, vehicle, or workplace. In doing so, there may be violations of the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights.

For example, a search warrant could be improperly requested or executed, or the officers could go beyond the scope of the warrant. Sometimes, the officers do not wait for a warrant and improperly seize and search evidence prematurely. If there are violations, the evidence that was recovered or seized as a result of the search can be suppressed. If the attorney is successful in bringing motions to suppress the materials in light of unconstitutional search and seizure, it would most likely result in the dismissal of all charges.

Consult with an Oakland Child Pornography Attorney

If you were the subject of Oakland child pornography investigations, do not hesitate to call a qualified lawyer. A dedicated criminal defense attorney could analyze your case and poke holes in the prosecution’s evidence. Reach out to an attorney today to discuss your situation.

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THE NIEVES LAW FIRM
Oakland Criminal Lawyer