Child Porn Sentences on a Federal Level

As this occurs, the United States Sentencing Commission must keep up by increasing the advisory federal sentencing guidelines for these crimes. With both agencies working together, sentences for child pornography have increased by 500 percent over the course of a fifteen-year timeframe.

In some instances, sentences for first-time offenders may be decades behind prison bars. These convicted offenders may never have touched or abused children previously, and with some of these individuals, there is little chance they would. The guidelines for child pornography sentences are based on specific factors and situations that are not necessarily a reflection of the intent or severity of the crime committed.

Developing Guidelines

Guidelines used for child pornography cases were originally adopted as a political measure in 1991 when the United States Sentencing Commission assigned crimes of possession of child pornography to a level ten. This level ten carries a sentence of six to twelve months in prison. The United States Sentencing Commission reported that Congress instructed it to first raise the level to thirteen without asking for their expertise in the matter. This level holds a sentencing of twelve to eighteen months in prison. Later, Congress again had the agency raise the level to fifteen with a possible sentence of eighteen to 24 months behind bars. Against the advice and experience of the United States Sentencing Commission, Congress again had it raise the offense level in 2004 to what it has been since: a level of eighteen. This current level has a sentencing of 27 to 33 months in prison for possession of child pornography without any other crimes having been committed.

Guidelines and Levels

When the guidelines are in place, this is only the initial point of developing a sentence for a convicted offender. Once the basic levels have been determined, other factors that affect sentencing are added to the time or fines issued to the convicted individual. Many factors added to these sentences have been provided to the United States Sentencing Commission through Congress without any regard as to the agency’s knowledge in these matters. With the added criteria to sentencing, regularly, a convicted individual with only one count of possession of child pornography may accrue a level of 27 or higher. This level has a potential sentencing of 70 to 87 months behind bars. When the increase of levels started from ten to eighteen through Congress based on their directives, it was done so because of a political agenda. No use of the United States Sentencing Commission’s data or national expertise was utilized for these numbers.

How this Affects Others

Because of the seriousness of the crimes dealing with children, many believe that these sentences are appropriate and should remain intact. However, when family or friends discover their friend or loved one faces these charges, they do not feel these guidelines are proper. It is their hope that justice will prevail in a fair manner. They hold that the guidelines used for these cases are the same as for other cases where the possible sentencing is based on expert examination of the claim, study and the content of the case instead of any specific political agenda forced upon the charges. This is how they feel their loved one or friend is treated fairly with a sufficient and proper sentencing without any heightened amount of time added. However, courts are often influenced by victims and the prosecution who want harsher punishments because the crime deals with children.

Distribute illegal content such as child pornography

While many feel safe cruising the internet while believing they are anonymous, many are unaware of just how watched some are when browsing online. Not all internet crimes may be discovered, but those that are may be harshly penalized when convicted.

Accusations Cause Difficulty

Accusations of sex crimes may cause a loss of reputation, social damage beyond repair, ruination of relationships and other related problems. The very accusation may be the foundation for charges in some states, potentially leading to conviction. Accusations of these severe crimes often cause others to lose faith in the accused individual. Some relationships may fail because allegations are believed even though the defendant has not even been convicted. Those in the community the alleged criminal resides in may treat him or her with prejudice based on the accusations alone.

Sex Crimes are an Illegal Activity

Various activities online are illegal. To be an internet sex crime, any activity conducted through use or aided by the internet must be involved. This may include possession or distribution of child images or video of a sexual subject or manner, attempting to entice or encourage a minor’s interactions in a chat room or sending provocative photos or video to a minor. Requesting these may incur additional charges of possession of child pornography as well. These crimes are often complicated with charges at both a state and federal level.

Crimes of Child Pornography

When sex crimes are committed online, these often include charges involving the collection of visual depictions of minors or those that have graphic images of sexual contact or nakedness. Downloading or distributing these images across state lines causes these offenses to be upgraded to the federal level. This may be through server exchanges, transport via routers or even movement with conventional vehicles.

Penalties for these crimes are often harsh with potential additional punishments added on based on the factors of the crime involved. The amount of photos, depictions, age and various similar factors are included in sentencing determination.

Online Inducement and Requests

Luring minors online through enticements with the intent of committing the crime of sexual abuse is a second-degree crime in many states. The minor must be under the legal age of the state, which is usually eighteen. Often prosecution must prove that the perpetrator was soliciting someone under the age of eighteen, some type of attempt was made to entice the youth and intention of committing a crime with the minor was in place. This also involves the use of the internet in the crime.

Penalties through conviction may lead to a prison stay of at least five years. Sex offender registration is a likely possibility if the state requires this. When defending against these charges, the intent behind actions must be proven.

Sex Offender Registration

As with most sex crimes, sex offender registration is required in most states. Any sex offender must register based on the stipulations in the state the crime was committed in and submit various identifying information for the registration. Depending upon the state and crime, registration may be for years or for life. Additionally, sex offenders are often required to register their residence when they move into a new state.

Megan’s Law

There are variations of Megan’s Law in every state, but guidelines may differ depending upon certain factors. These guidelines are to administer how the sex offender’s information is permitted for viewing by public individuals. Some states have registration through a database with public access, but others have internet registration accessible only to a few. Notifications of sex offenders are often made available to the community he or she will become a part of.

Some states such as New Jersey have regulations on how sex offenders must adhere. This may require those registered to avoid specific towns or areas that ban those with registration. This may additionally ban special areas where sex offenders with a history of crimes against children might run into such young people.

Finding a Lawyer for Internet Sex Crimes

If accused, it is best to find a lawyer that has knowledge about sex crimes. With internet involvement, the lawyer should be well-versed with how to access and use the internet and how these instances apply to these cases.

Claims in a Sex Crime as Evidence

In addition to the right to a trial by jury of his or her peers, the defendant has the right to bring up evidence of the victim’s previous claims that proved to be false. This may show that the accused has been the target of these claims before or that the victim wrongfully accused someone on a previous occasion. This information may help further proof behind his or her innocence in charges. Sometimes the alleged victim is acting out of spite or with a vengeful spirit to punish another person for various reasons. In some cases, the person claiming to be the victim wants money to dismiss charges. In other cases, the victim may be confused or suffer from a mental illness that causes him or her to believe things happened that did not happen in reality.

In some sex crimes cases, the person that must go through trial as a defendant is actually the victim of the case. And in some cases, the person scrutinized throughout the proceedings is the person that came forward with a sex crime as a victim. This causes those affected by these offenses to not want to reveal a crime occurred.

Cases of Revenge in Sex Crimes

When the motivation behind the alleged victim’s claim is revenge, jealousy, spite or an emotional trigger, the defendant must work hard at protecting his or her rights in relation to false accusations. In some situations, the affected person contacts the defendant with an offer to dismiss charges. However, in many of these offers, the deal requires monetary exchanges.

Revenge may cause claims of multiple crimes being committed in the same case. These may include rape, assault, battery and potentially robbery. The victim may claim consensual sex was actually a crime of rape, and the charges may increase if the use of deadly weapons and physical harm were part of the allegations. These accusations are damaging and may cause a lengthy case with possible multiple appeals if necessary. Those seeking retribution through revenge often play their part well to ensure the defending party is punished.

Rejection of Past Claims

When the judge presiding over a case rejects the introduction of evidence that reveals how past claims were false, this cripples the defense when attempting to prove the truth. In some instances, the alleged victim may have been a professional prostitute or someone that traded services for monetary exchanges. Any instances of claims of a sex crime in these circumstances are often false, as the exchange of money for services is an assumption of consent. While other crimes of assault and battery may transpire, these are not usually committed by those seeking only sexual gratification. However, if the past false claims cannot be introduced, the defense must restructure the strategy of the trial.

When the past false claims are rejected from being part of the trial, an appeal may be filed as the defendant may claim his or her right to defend himself or herself properly was removed. This may be the only step to overturn conviction of these false claims.

Due Process in Sex Crimes

The right to a complete defense is afforded to all United States citizens no matter what type of crime is alleged to have been committed or who the defending party is. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Confrontational Clause of the Sixth Amendment in the United States Constitution allow for a complete defense with all relevant and related material being allowed introduction in the trial. This may lead to a new trial if the previous one rejected evidence of false claims by an alleged victim. Through excluding certain evidence, some rights might be violated.

Find predators sharing child porn media

Many individuals believe they are anonymous when creating profiles online through various sites. However, some of these sites are monitored by law enforcement for potential conviction of criminal activities. Possession, sharing, transmitting and creating images or video of children in sexual activity are all crimes with harsh punishments when conviction occurs. Included are semi to complete nudity of these children in visual depictions whether these are drawn, painted or photographed.

What Is a Peer-to-Peer Network?

When one or more computers connect online through a website, network connection or software, a peer-to-peer connection can be made. These are connections directly from one or more computers to one or more computers or servers. When connected in this way, downloading or uploading software or other media is possible in quick and swift exchanges. For media that is only available on a specific person’s computer or through a server only available to particular people or members, this is the best way to obtain this information. In some instances, membership with vast details is needed. In other situations, membership is purchased monthly or yearly.

Fighting Child Porn Crimes Internationally

Law enforcement agencies combat these offenses on an international level. Additionally, federal and state level agencies work in cooperation with international organizations in order to attempt to reduce and eliminate the threat of child offenders throughout the United States. Each charge of child pornography may have a different penalty, and each level of charges may increase the harshness of the punishments. When the distinction between possession and distribution of pornography becomes complicated determining what crime is committed with relevant penalties also become complex. The very act of possessing pornography involving children is punished heavily, but distribution charges are much more severe.

Crimes of Child Pornography

Possession of these depictions often has a harsh punishment with years in prison and potentially fines along with sex offender registration. This includes the downloading, creating, and possession of images or video files.

Distribution is usually determined as the sharing or intended sharing of pornographic child photos or video from one person to another. This may be through online contact, copying and sharing photos or video in person or sharing content through a peer-to-peer network. Sharing through a network may be determined as both distribution and delivery of content with at least one other person. Though access online and sharing media in this way is considered a passive means, it has been accepted through court trials previously, resulting in the conviction of defendants who used these means to distribute pornographic images. Because of this, peer-to-peer investigations for child porn content have become a common practice by law enforcement officers. Catching offenders in this way is invaluable in some cases.

Unintentional Sharing of Content

P2P network access allows an individual to share files and folders set up through preferences chosen by the member with the software or website membership. When these settings are left open, anonymous sharing may be possible. In some instances, members of these websites may have accidentally left files or folders open to sharing when they did not intend to. Even if nothing was downloaded, this may lead police officers to apprehend the individuals through unintentional behavior. In these situations, a criminal defense lawyer may try to argue that the defendant lacked the necessary mens rea to be convicted of the crime since there was no intent.

Catching Offenders through Software

Law enforcement agencies have various software programs that may determine IP addresses or other information about a user. When an IP address is determined, the location of the offender may be pinpointed. This allows law enforcement agents to cite probable cause in order to have a search warrant created to search the home of the identified offender. The computer used in the home along with the entire house is investigated and examined thoroughly. Charges may depend upon the intentional distribution of child pornography for distribution charges. However, possession charges may still be issued in these cases.