My husband has been arrested and charged with 1 count of sexual exploitation of children for a file that was found on our computer. The file was most likely downloaded through FrostWire. He adamantly claims that he did not download that file knowingly. He has not spoken to police or any of the investigation team about any details as he knows they are not out to help him. His arraignment is in two weeks and we are wondering if he should seek out private counsel or wait and get a public defender. We most certainly can not afford to pay a lawyer unless a miracle happens, which I do believe in those, but from a professional standpoint, what is the best option?
You will only be appointed a public defender if the court deems that you qualify based on your income. It is not just a choice that you make. There are many people that feel that they cannot afford an attorney, but the court decides that they in fact can.
Public defenders are very capable and will focus what resources they can if that is the way you end up going. Realize that most public defenders have heavy case loads that tax their time very heavily.
If you can hire your own attorney, you can have more information when you show up for the arraignment and it is possible that you will have a better idea of where you stand at the point.
Possible challenges are did the police have some probably cause to search your husbands computer and were his rights violated in the search and seizure. Also, it would be interesting to explore if anyone else had access to the computer such as a repair person etc.
Good luck but realize the sooner you get an attorney the better and do not talk to anyone except an attorney and do not communicate with the police.
This response does not create an attorney client relationship nor should the advice be relied upon because it is not specific to your legal situation. Before you depend on legal advice, you should retain competent counsel.
You will need a lawyer who has experience handling this kind of case. You will also need a very experienced computer forensic expert. Many public defender offices do not have the resources to hire such an expert.
You ought to hire your own lawyer asap. And that lawyer ought to hire a computer forensic expert asap. My experience with these types of cases is that they are outside the realm of the typically funded public defender office, even though there is a very good PD office in Brunswick.
You can contact me at my office at 770-744-4211 or by email through this website. The questioner and any reader do not have an attorney-client relationship formed by our communications on this website. Advice given by me on this website is general advice based on partial information. You should not rely on any advice given without first hiring a lawyer in the area where the case is pending, and providing that lawyer with full information.
Please, please, please speak to an attorney about these charges as soon as possible. Your husband is facing very serious charges which have the potential to impact him - and you - for the rest of his life. I cannot stress enough to you how seriously you should take these kinds of allegations, especially in a small community like Brunswick. Moreover, important time limits start running on the date of his arraignment, and any attorney who represents him will appreciate the opportunity to get involved as soon as possible.
If you are inclined to seek assistance from the public defender's office, call them today; their telephone number is 912-554-7072. Your husband can certianly apply for a public defender before his arraignment. In the alternative, should you wish to hire a private attorney to represent him, please also start contacting lawyers immediately.
I have recently closed a criminal defense practice in Atlanta and relocated to the Brunswick area. In Atlanta, I handled these types of cases, and whether a public defender or private attorney is the route you choose, please keep in mind that a forensic computer expert will probably be an important component of the potential defense you describe in your question. I wish you luck in dealing with these charges, and if I may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
L. Kathleen Willcox
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