These sex crime cases are not very easy to beat because of the fact that usually the federal government is involved and they're going to use all sorts of resources to be able to prove their case. The number of ways to beat a child pornography case have to do with whether the prosecutors or agents or law enforcement can prove that you downloaded something that is child pornography from a location.
That's one of the first things they're going to be asking when they come in to serve a search warrant is, whose computer is that.
They're basically tracing an IP address that has downloaded something illegal like child pornography. So, once somebody says, that's mine, then they're going to ask, does anybody else use that? If you say no, I'm the only one that uses it, now they've got step one — a lock on you. So, that's one way to beat it — if you're not the one that uses that computer and somebody else uses that computer and they're the ones that could have downloaded the child pornography that is ultimately found on the computer.
Images Don't Depict Minors
Another way to beat a child pornography case is if whatever is on the computer is not child pornography A lot of times there's pictures of younger-looking individuals, but the prosecutors still have to prove that that person is under the age of 18 for a photograph for example or even a video to be child pornography.
Really what you're talking about is proving that somebody downloaded child pornography, that they're the ones that did it, that it's not anybody else, and another issue — does that person reasonably know that whatever is being downloaded on their computer is child pornography. Sometimes they believe that the person is of age.
Accidental Download of Images
Another thing that I see happening is sometimes child pornography is accidentally downloaded. Someone could be looking at adult pornography and all of a sudden there's a bunch of rider child pornography that comes on and the person clicks on it and they don't realize that what they're clicking on is child pornography.
This happens all the time and the prosecutors obviously know that this is a good defense, so what they're looking for when they come in is, if you've downloaded something and it's on your computer — how are they going to say, you could have made a mistake, but now you have to get it off your computer.
You can't download it and leave it on there, or if they can show some sort of signs of you watching it. So, that's definitely a way to beat a child pornography case — to make a good argument that whatever it is that was downloaded was downloaded accidentally and you didn't intend to capture child pornography.
Use of Forensic Experts
The way that they prove these cases — and this gives you an idea of ways to beat child pornography cases — and that is, they get a forensic expert. They take the computer. They take the phone. They take the iPad — whatever the device is — and the expert will attempt to extract all of the information.
That takes some time, not only because it just takes time technically, but also because they have so many other cases ahead of you that they're trying to extract information from. I've seen these cases take as long as six months, a year or even longer to extract the information, then obviously, once it's extracted somebody has to view it. They're going to look and see how much child pornography it is and whether it actually is child pornography.
So, if you've got one of these cases, another thing they're going to do to try to lock the case up so you don't try to beat the child pornography case in Los Angeles, is they're going to try to get you to admit that you're the one that downloaded it, you knew that it was child pornography, nobody else uses your computer. So, obviously speaking to law enforcement in these type of matters is not a good idea.
You definitely want to get to an attorney as fast as possible. Keep your mouth shut. Let the attorney guide you through the process and try to get you a successful outcome if you're charged with child pornography in Los Angeles.