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Articles Posted in Child Pornography

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“Sexting” and Child Pornography

sexting and child pornography“Sexting” is a term that refers to the sending of lewd or sexually explicit text messages to another person. “Sexts” that include sexually explicit images of a minor are a form of child pornography. In order for you to be convicted of possession of child pornography, the prosecution must prove that you knowingly possessed any material that involved a person under the age of 18 engaging in sexual conduct or simulating sexual conduct.

In California, there is no age exception for possession of child pornography. This means that you can be charged with possession of child pornography if either you or the other person is a minor, so long as you possessed the pornographic material and you knew that the material involved a minor under the age of 18.

Sentence and Punishment for Possession of Child Pornography

According to California Penal Code section 311.11, possession of child pornography is a felony. If you are convicted of possession of child pornography under California Penal Code section 311, you face imprisonment in state prison for up to three years or county jail for up to one year. You may also be required to pay a fine of up to $2,500. If this is your second offense, you can be required to serve up to six years in state prison.

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The California Supreme Court is debating whether or not to make any conviction for possession of child pornography a crime that mandates a lawyer’s equivalent of the death penalty: disbarment.

Citing “moral turpitude” as the reason to revoke a lawyer’s license, the court is being asked to decide whether a conviction for child pornography possession should continue to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, or whether the crime is so morally reprehensible that a conviction involving possessing sexual images of persons under the age of 18 demands disbarment.

A suspended lawyer from Orange County is at the center of this controversy. He pled guilty to a single felony count of child pornography possession in April, 2009 and is facing disbarment.

Supreme Court Justices heard from his counsel earlier in December, as well as from attorneys representing the California state bar. Counsel for the suspended attorney argue that while he should be disciplined for his crime, the facts surrounding his conviction do not meet the criteria of behavior that is so morally depraved for him to be disbarred.

The state bar attorney argues that the integrity of the practice of law will be compromised if anything other than disbarment is permitted upon a conviction for this crime.

What is Moral Turpitude?

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Moral turpitude means conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals. Crimes involving moral turpitude have an inherent quality of baseness, vileness or depravity with respect to a person’s duty to another or to society in general.

Some criminal offenses are so serious that they amount to “moral turpitude per se” – meaning they are grounds for automatic disbarment. These include felony convictions for grand theft, forgery, perjury, fraud and, of course, first degree murder. However, what constitutes “baseness, vileness or depravity in the private and social duties” has evolved along with social changes.

Currently, California has no set standard on the issue of whether child pornography possession qualifies as a crime of moral turpitude per se, thus subjecting an attorney convicted of the offense to automatic disbarment.

This is a case of what is known as “first impression,” meaning it is the first time the California Supreme Court has been asked to rule on this issue.

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On June 27, 2013, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will grant review of Paroline v. U.S., 12-8561, this fall or winter in order to decide whether victims of child pornography can seek restitution from individuals convicted of viewing their sexual exploitation.

The controversy centers on a lawsuit filed by a Pennsylvania woman, identified only as “Amy”, who was sexually abused by her uncle as a child. Her uncle widely circulated images of the sexual abuse. Now, Amy is seeking 3.3 million dollars in restitution from Randall Paroline, a Texas resident who was convicted of possession of child pornography. Amy was among the girls depicted in the approximately 150 to 300 images of child pornography discovered on Paroline’s computer.

Who Favors Restitution For Sexually Exploited Minors?

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In October 2012, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Amy was entitled to restitution from Randall Paroline and a New Orleans resident, Michael Wright, after they were convicted of possession of child pornography. Images of Amy’s sexual abuse as a minor were found on the computers of both individuals.

According to the Boston Globe, Wright argued that he did not owe Amy restitution for two reasons. First, he alleged that he did not obtain the images of her until after the sexual abuse had already occurred. Second, he claimed that Amy did not have personal knowledge that he had viewed the images.

The majority opinion’s decision stated that a federal statute dictates that a child pornography victim be awarded restitution for the full amount of their losses in each defendant’s case.
“Congress’ intent has finally been recognized by this bold and decisive decision,” claimed James Marsh, Amy’s attorney. “For Amy and the countless victims of this horrible crime, today is the day when the legal system finally delivered justice.”

Justice Garza, writing for the majority, explained that “fears over excessive punishment are misplaced.” He added that “…while the imposition of full restitution may appear harsh, it is not grossly disproportionate to the crime of receiving and possessing child pornography.”

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California treats crimes involving child pornography very seriously. If you are accused of possessing child pornography under California Penal Code Section 311, you face years in jail and expensive fines. A conviction for this crime will hang over your head for your entire life, making it difficult to find and maintain a job, find adequate housing and go near schools and parks. That is why it is important that you speak to an experienced child pornography attorney immediately if you are accused of child pornography possession.

Prosecution of Child Pornography Possession (PC 311.11)

Possession of Child Pornography Attorney CaliforniaCalifornia Penal Code 311 generally prohibits the knowing distribution, possession, production, publication, duplication, sale or printing of child pornography in any form. To convict you of possession of child pornography under PC 311.11, the prosecution must prove the following two elements:

  • You knowingly possessed the alleged child pornography and
  • The material involves a person under the age of 18 engaging in sexual conduct or simulating sexual conduct

Punishment for Child Pornography Possession Conviction

Most convictions for child pornography offenses under California law are charged as felonies, and they have severe potential consequences. Under PC 311.11, possession of child pornography is a felony punishable by imprisonment in county jail for 16 months, two or three years, and a maximum fine of $2,500.

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Under California Penal Code section 311, possession of child pornography is a felony offense. If you are convicted of this crime, the consequences will affect you for the rest of your life. The child pornography process in San Bernardino is extremely complicated. That is why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate this legal matter.

Child Pornography Charges in San Bernardino (PC 311)

PC 311 prohibits the possession or control of pornographic materials containing content with minors. For example, if a person downloads or saves child pornography to his or her personal computer, that most likely qualifies as possession or control of child pornography materials. Sharing, emailing or otherwise distributing copies of the material also are considered violations of PC 311.

If you are facing charges for child pornography in San Bernardino, your reputation and freedom are at stake. It is critical that you contact a San Bernardino child pornography attorney immediately.

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A conviction for possession of child pornography can have a severe impact on your life and carry heavy consequences. Depending on the circumstances of your crime, the prosecutor can charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony for possession of child pornography. However, child porn charges are taken very seriously and heavily prosecuted in the state of California, which means it is likely that you will be charged with a felony if you are found to be in possession of child pornography.

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Penalties for Child Pornography Crimes in California (PC 311)

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor for child pornography possession under California Penal Code Section 311, you can be sentenced up to one year in county jail and fined up to $2,500. If you are convicted of a felony for child pornography possession, you could be sentenced to imprisonment in state prison from 16 months to up to eight years, and you can also be fined up to $100,000. The court may also look to your criminal history and may impose an even harsher punishment if you have prior sex crime convictions on your record.

In addition to the possibility of jail time and expensive fines, you will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life under California Penal Code Section 290. This obligation to register as a sex offender will last for the rest of your life. If you fail to register as a sex offender, you could be charged with a separate crime.

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Human trafficking for the sex trade is something that most people have heard about on the news, but it really doesn’t seem to be “real.” At least one family in Stockton, CA can tell you just how real of an issue it is here in the United States, as the FBI helped to rescue their 14-year-old daughter from a life of prostitution. The sting led to the arrest of one man, charged with creating child pornography and sex trafficking.

The FBI has a task force known as the Lost Innocence Task Force that works in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies to try and track down children that are suspected of being sucked into the underground world of human trafficking.

In this particular instance, the task force discovered a picture of a missing girl on an internet website known for soliciting prostitution services. They confirmed the identity of the girl with the girl’s parents and set up a sting operation, in which the girl was rescued and her pimp was arrested.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.