LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Robert James Goldson III | Nov 24, 2010

Federal Child Pornography Charges

Federal Child Pornography Charges are becoming more and more commonplace with the proliferation of electronic communication and with the assignment of additional US Attorneys and FBI agents to prosecute the crimes. The punishments assigned to these crimes are especially severe and are as follows.

• 18 USC § 2251

Production of child pornography (mandatory min. 15 yrs; max 30 years)

• 18 USC § 2251A

Selling or buying children for sexual exploitation (mandatory min. 30 yrs; max life)

• 18 USC § 2252

Possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography (mandatory min 5 yrs for distribution or receipt; max 20 years)

• 18 USC § 2252A

Possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography (mandatory min 5 yrs for distribution or receipt; max 20 years)

• 18 USC § 2260

Importation of child pornography (max 10 years)

The punishment for each crime can be enhanced from the minimum sentence for the number of pictures possessed by the defendant and other conduct. An attorney can assist a defendant by working through the sentencing guidelines to reduce the potential punishment and assessing the possibilities of getting the federal indictment dismissed for a variety of reasons. Negotiations in a federal case must take place before a Defendant is indicted. Once a defendant is indicted it is difficult to deal with changing any charges in the federal system. Federal Jurisdiction is very broad and has been upheld in child pornography production cases when an out of state camera is used. This is true even when the production and possession is only intrastate. SInce almost all cameras and video equipment is manufactured outside of the United States, Federal Jurisdiction exist in almost every child pornography production case. In most possession cases the Defendant has receive the pornography through electronic communication, and the since such communication invariably crosses state lines through servers and satellites federal jurisdiction exist in almost every possession case. With the extra attention and focus of the government on child pornography crimes, the role of an attorney as become vital at the very start of a federal case. If the legal issues and sentencing guidelines are not addressed upfront, it will be do late for the defendant to seek leniency or avoid the harsh consequences of the punishment of child pornography crimes.

Additional resources provided by the author

The federal sentencing guidelien calculator can be a great resource to begin assessing the potential range of punishment in a child pornography case, http://www.sentencing.us/.

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