Child pornography charges are increasing in Michigan and in Federal Courts. Law enforcement officials are searching file-sharing services daily for child pornography. A person may be on a file sharing service looking for legal items to download but if child pornography is on this file sharing service, you could get a visit from your local law enforcement officer.
The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan has seen people charged with child pornography that has little or no prior criminal record. Those charged, who do have prior convictions, often have no prior sexual conduct or child pornography charges.
The most important case involving child pornography laws in the United States of America is New York v. Ferber. In Feber, the United States Supreme court held that the First Amendment of the United States does not keep the states or federal government from creating and enforcing laws banning the sale of material depicting children engaged in sexual acts. The United States Supreme Court held that child pornography can be banned even if the material is not obscene. People who are charged in either federal or state courts need to hire an attorney who is experienced in defending child pornography charges in federal or state courts.
In Ferber, The United States Supreme Court held that government has a compelling interest in protecting children from sexual exploitation. The Court also ruled that the distribution of child pornography is intrinsically bound with the sexual abuse of children. The court also ruled that even pictures of children engaging in sexual activity may be made illegal by state governments and by the federal government.
Over the last 15 years, the maximum penalties for child pornography have gone up 500 percent in the last 15 years! There are numerous of charges related to child pornography that are prosecuted in state and federal courts. The main decision of whether a state or federal prosecutor picks up a case depends on what type of law enforcement agency is prosecuting the law. If the case has national attention, the federal government is more likely to pick up the case as well. If the case deals with transportation of minors across state lines, the federal government is more likely to pick up the case. If the case deals with sending pictures across state lines, the federal government is more likely to pick up charges. Most of the time, the federal government will punish child pornography harsher than the state of Michigan does. If you are facing charges for possession of child pornography, you need to call a criminal defense lawyer like Shawn now at 616-438-6719! Your future is in jeopardy!
Child Pornography Charges in Michigan
Child pornography charges come in two categories 1) distribution and 2) possession. Using a computer to commit a crime is often added on these charges:
Distribution of Child Pornography (Child Sexually Abusive Activity MCL 750.145(c)2)
This carries a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine of $100,000. A person convicted of this crime will be labeled as a sex offender.
Possession of Child Porn (Child Sexually Abuse Material Possession MCL 750.1450(c))
This charge has a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A person who is convicted of possession must also register as a Tier 1 sex offender.
Model Jury Instructions for Possessing Child Porn (source, the Institute of Continuing Legal Education).
1) The defendant is charged with the crime of possessing or accessing child sexually abusive material. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
(2) First, that the defendant [possessed child sexually abusive material / looked for child sexually abusive material and intentionally caused it to be sent to or seen by another person] .
(3) Child sexually abusive materials are pictures, movies, or illustrations1 of [a person under 18 years of age / the representation of a person under 18 years of age] engaged in one or more of the following sexual acts:
(a) sexual intercourse, which is genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal penetration, whether the intercourse is real or simulated, and whether it is between persons of the same or opposite sex, or between a person and an animal, or with an artificial genital, [and / or]
(b) erotic fondling, which is the touching of a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, female breasts, or the developing or undeveloped breast area of a child for the purpose of sexual gratification or stimulation of any person involved, but does not include other types of touching, even if affectionate, [and / or]
(c) sadomasochistic abuse, which is restraining or binding a person with rope, chains, or any other kind of binding material; whipping; or torturing for purposes of sexual gratification or stimulation, [and / or]
(d) masturbation, which is stimulation by hand or by an object of a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, female breasts, or the developing or undeveloped breast area of a child for sexual gratification or stimulation, [and / or]
(e) passive sexual involvement, which is watching, drawing attention to, or exposing someone to persons who are performing real or simulated sexual intercourse, erotic fondling, sadomasochistic abuse, masturbation, sexual excitement, or erotic nudity for the purpose of sexual gratification or stimulation of any person involved, [and / or]
(f) sexual excitement, which is the display of someone’s genitals in a state of stimulation or arousal, [and / or]
(g) erotic nudity, which is showing the genital, public, or rectal area of someone in a way that tends to produce lewd or lustful emotions.
[Choose either (4) or (5), depending on whether the depiction is an actual person or is a created representation of a person under the age of 18:]
(4) Second, that the defendant knew or should reasonably have known3that the person shown in the sexually abusive material was less than 18 years old, or failed to take reasonable precautions to determine whether the person was less than 18 years old.
(5) Second, that the defendant possessed or accessed a portrayal of a person appearing to be under the age of 18, knowing that the person portrayed appeared to be under the age of 18, and all of the following conditions apply:
(a) An average person, applying current community standards, would find that the material appealed to an unhealthy or shameful interest in nudity, sex, or excretion.4
(b) A reasonable person would not find any serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value in the material.
(c) The material shows or describes sexual intercourse, erotic fondling, sadomasochistic abuse, masturbation, passive sexual involvement, sexual excitement, or erotic nudity, as previously described for you.
(6) Third, that the defendant [knew that (he / she) possessed / knowingly looked for] the material.
Do not face these charges alone! Do not use a public defender when you are facing charges of possession of child pornagraphy. Call Shawn now at 616-438-6719 and get results!
Using a Computer to Commit a Crime MCL MCL752.796
This charge carries a penalty of up to twenty years in prison. It is a charge that is almost always added on to any child pornography case.
If you are facing charges of child pornography, call Shawn today at 616-438-6719! Let him put his professional expertise to work for you in order to get you the best result possible!
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