Fort Myers Child Pornography Lawyers

Fort Myers child pornography lawyers banner image Our Fort Myers child pornography lawyers understand that while all sex crimes are considered serious offenses, those involving children are investigated and prosecuted especially aggressively. Among the most commonly charged sex offenses involving children are those relating to child pornography and include:
  • The possession of child pornography
  • The use of a child in a sexual performance
  • The promotion of a sexual performance by a child
  • Possession of child pornography with the intent to promote the sexual performance of a child
An image will qualify as child pornography in Fort Myers if it involves the depiction of sexual conduct, which is defined as:
  • Actual or simulated sexual intercourse
  • Masturbation
  • Bestiality
  • Sadomasochistic abuse or sexual assault
  • Lewd exhibition of the genitals
  • Physical contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed pubic area, breast, or buttocks if the action was undertaken to arouse sexual desire

Possession of Child Pornography in Fort Myers

Since the advent of the internet, most pornographic images depicting children are sent and viewed online. However, defendants accused of viewing child pornography in Fort Myers can still be charged in court even if they do not possess physical copies of the film or image, but instead downloaded the files and intentionally viewed them. In fact, defendants can be charged with separate counts for each image that was downloaded, which could result in hundreds of separate counts of possessing child pornography.

In order to convict a defendant of possessing child pornography, prosecutors must prove that the accused intentionally viewed the images in question. Generally, this requires proof that the defendant took affirmative action to save the images on his or her computer cache file or knew that the computer would automatically save them.

Possession with Intent to Promote the Sexual Performance of a Child in Fort Myers

Defendants who are found in possession of three or more copies of a pornographic film, image, or photo depicting a child may also face charges of possessing child pornography with the intent to promote it the sexual performance of a minor. Because of its associations with distributing pornographic images, this offense is charged as a second degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each count.

Promoting the Sexual Performance of a Child in Fort Myers

Under Fla. Stat. 827.071, it is unlawful to promote a sexual performance by a child and defendants can be convicted of this crime if they produce, direct, or promote any performance that contains sexual conduct by a minor. This includes the production of child pornography, such as photos, movies, dances, plays, and any visual representation exhibited before an audience. Parents can also be charged with this offense if they were aware of the nature of the depiction and still permitted or induced their child to participate.

Using a Child in a Sexual Performance

Florida law also specifically prohibits employing, inducing, or authorizing a child under the age of 18 years old to engage in a sexual performance. Like promoting the sexual performance of a child, this offense covers parents who permitted or forced their child to participate in a sexual performance.

Federal Law

When child pornography crosses state lines it can be prosecuted under federal law 18 U.S.C. §2252A, which prohibits the possession of photos, videos, or images if they contain visual depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. This definition is much broader than Florida’s requirement that the child actually be depicted engaging in sexual conduct. Instead, the image must only qualify as sexually suggestive. What qualifies as a visual depiction is also defined broadly under federal law, as not only photos and videos, but also digital or computer generated images if they depict someone that is indistinguishable from an actual minor, as well as images created, modified, or adapted to appear as though they depict a minor.

Child pornography cases are only tried in federal court when there is evidence that:
  • One or more of the images was transported across state lines
  • One or more of the images were produced using equipment that had been shipped across state boundaries
Federal courts have repeatedly found that federal jurisdiction over child pornography cases exists when the image was transferred electronically over the internet, as this qualifies as crossing state lines. Mailing images using the U.S. postal service also qualifies under the interstate commerce requirement.

Being tried in federal court can have severe consequences, as judges must adhere to specific federal sentencing guidelines. For instance, defendants face a minimum of five years in prison if convicted, although the sentence could be enhanced to 20 years if they have a prior history of sex-related offenses.
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