We hear a lot about prosecutions for child pornography; why defend these kind of cases?
This article describes background on why defense of child pornography sometimes make sense.
Background about Child Pornography LawYou are correct that the number of prosecutions in both state and federal court have increased many times in the past ten years, in other words, thousands more people are being prosecuted for this criminal conduct. People who are prosecuted are usually decent, upstanding citizens with no prior legal problems, who are destroyed by the allegation and lose their marriage, their children, and their employment. The lives of their families are also, if not destroyed, irretrievably damaged.
Our colleagues from the United States Attorney and state Attorney General tell us that all the increase is due to the easy access that people have on the Internet. What too often happens is that curious or just plain bored people will often be playing around on the Internet and wind up creating problems for themselves which they could not have imagined.
Certainly, child pornography should be a crime because the victims are little children who have no way of protecting themselves. Virtually no pornography is actually made in New Mexico (or anywhere in the country), although you might not know that from the way some ambitious prosecutors carry on in their speeches and press releases to try and impress voters. For example, these legislators and prosecutors have made certain that each individual picture, which they can connect to the accused person's computer, increases the risk of incarceration for those convicted, sometimes up to hundreds of years. The overbroad way the law is written, a person can be subject to far more severe penalties for images to which a porn website connects but images which he has never actually seen.
What can go wrong with Child Pornography ProcecutionWhat often happens is that law-abiding folks will be playing around on the Internet and get a pop-up on line or they may be just curious about the subject. They click on one appealing site, just to see what might be available on line, not realizing they will be overwhelmed by a stream of offensive images from porn sites that simply won't end, no matter how hard they work at it. A innocent person can be connected P2P to an almost ceaseless stream of truly repulsive material, and the law enforcement folks who spend their entire day trolling the Internet to catch someone who logs into a site. In fairness, some folks who have led upstanding lives can wind up getting really hooked on child porn and eventually get caught. We feel these folks, like any addict, need treatment before they need long sentences in prison. Our local authorities tell us that over 6,000 people in Albuquerque alone are on child pron sites daily; many of us actually think that number is smaller than the actual. Until we try to treat the cause, the number will grow, just like the number of persons addicted to illegal or prescription drugs grows.
In our law office, we recognize the criminal problem but are deeply concerned when it appears that too many of our state and federal authorities delight in destroying the lives of people who really need counseling and support, not absurdly long prison sentences. Just as excessive criminal sentences will not prevent a drug addict from craving his or her chemical dependency, ridiculously long sentences do not help the accused citizen salvage his life, let alone his family and job. What long sentences really accomplish is running up unnecessary costs to the taxpayers for incarceration of persons (who would benefit from short prison terms and counseling to lead honorable lives) and also destroy the lives of all who love these troubled souls.