The Threat of Improper Prosecutions and Wrongful Convictions

Inside of an abandoned penitentiary | Improper Prosecutions and Wrongful ConvictionsHave you been charged with child pornography?  If so, it is important to understand how serious these charges truly are and how the mere accusation is often enough to derail and damage your personal and professional relationships. Improper prosecutions and wrongful convictions can ruin the lives of innocent people.

Perhaps you are guilty of the charges being leveled against you. If so, you still deserve a vigorous defense and someone who will fight hard for your freedom. Or, perhaps you unwittingly received or possessed child pornography. Everyone with a computer is at risk, as these types of crimes can be committed by hackers who have gained remote control of your computer. This can occur via malicious software which directs your personal computer to websites with illegal images or videos. In some cases, sexual predators may have used your unsecured wireless connection to conduct unlawful activity. Or, you may have simply clicked on a hyperlink, perhaps sent to your e-mail, as a part of an FBI sting. The next thing you know, you are being charged with a very serious crime.

The Associated Press described cases in a 2009 investigative report in which innocent people were labeled as sexual perverts after child pornography was found on their computers. Consider the case of Michael Fiola, a former employee of the Massachusetts Dept. of Industrial Accidents. Fiola’s laptop, issued by the state, was checked out after it was noticed that Fiola was using at least four times more data than his co-workers. When checked by the IT department, folders containing child pornography were discovered.

Fiola was subsequently fired, and charged with possession of child pornography. It was later found that Fiola’s laptop had a severe virus which directed the computer to visit 40 child pornography sites every minute. While all charges against Fiola were eventually dropped, he and his wife spent a quarter of a million dollars defending the charges, even taking out a second mortgage and putting their vehicles up for sale. Fiola said, “It ruined my life, my wife’s life, and my family’s life.”

As if the above story is not bad enough, there are even cases of cyber extortion in which extortionists threaten to wipe a computer’s hard drive or plant child pornography and call the police if the owner of the computer doesn’t pay them a fee—anywhere from $30 to several hundred. Although local law enforcement as well as the FBI have been working on these issues for years, they have found it extremely difficult to find the perpetrators of such crimes.

Child pornography charges are especially disturbing, since, like Fiola and other innocent people, those who are acquitted of the crime have likely already been judged guilty in the court of public opinion, leading to ruined reputations, relationships and careers. In any case, whether you made a mistake or are truly innocent of the charges, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Boulder criminal defense attorney as soon as you have any idea you are being investigated for the crime of child pornography.

Possible Defenses to Boulder Charges of Child Pornography

While charges of child pornography are extremely grave, and should be taken very seriously, just because you have been charged with the crime does not mean you will be convicted. Your Boulder criminal defense attorney may use one of the following defenses on your behalf, depending on the circumstances surrounding your charges:

  • The activity you are being charged with was conducted for an educational purpose or a scientific purpose such as a college project or thesis;
  • The minor in the photos or videos was legally emancipated at the time he or she participated in the materials in question;
  • The materials being used as evidence against you were obtained through an illegal search and seizure;
  • An undercover officer encouraged you to purchase child pornography when you had never engaged in such an activity (entrapment);
  • You clicked on a hyperlink accidentally, typed in the wrong web address, or a virus on your computer has caused the child pornography images;
  • The content in question is not considered child pornography under Colorado laws because the film is rated by the Motion Picture Association of America;
  • Those in the photos or videos were not minors, or you did not know they were minors;
  • You were falsely accused or framed by someone with a grudge against you;
  • You are the victim of mistaken identity;
  • The child pornography on your computer is the result of a file-sharing program such as Limewire or Kazaa;
  • Another person downloaded child pornography on your computer with your knowledge, or
  • You have a psychological addiction to the materials, and are truly remorseful.

Further Reading: Four Traffic Stop Tips That Will Help You Protect Your Rights

Contact Our Boulder Criminal Defense Attorneys

Boulder Criminal Defense Attorney Steven LouthIf you or someone you love is charged with child pornography in the State of Colorado, it is important to speak to an experienced Boulder criminal defense attorney immediately. Your attorney will begin mounting an aggressive defense against these charges to help safeguard your reputation and your future. For more information and a FREE CASE EVALUATION contact Steven Louth  today at (303)442-2297.

Posted in Blog, Boulder, Colorado, Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes, Wrongly Accused


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