Federal and State Child Pornography Prosecutions
The government will try to use coercion and enticement to lure a suspect into possessing or distributing child sexually abusive material.
Government’s Aggressive Tactics in CSAM Cases
Child Pornography involving coercion and enticement is a serious allegation frequently dealt with in Federal Courts. United States v Roman (decided July 2015) involved the defendant trying to coerce and entice an 11-year-old girl to have sex with him by communicating with the girl’s father. What he did not know was that the father of an 11-year-old girl was a Secret Service agent. The defendant argued that he could not be convicted of coercion and enticement because he was not attempting to persuade a minor for sex. After all, the person he was communicating with was actually an adult. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held that “a defendant may be convicted of attempting to coerce and entice a child for sex through an adult intermediary.” The court found that the defendant committed an attempt to commit the offense by flattering the “father” by offering to take the girl shopping and to buy her flowers and candy, among other things.
What is coercion?
Coercion in child pornography cases means that someone was forced, threatened, or pressured into getting involved in creating, possessing, or sharing explicit images or videos of minors. This can happen to both young people and adults, and it often involves someone using fear or manipulation to make them do something illegal. When coercion is concerned, it can make it harder for the person accused of the crime to defend themselves because they may not have done it willingly. Legal cases involving coercion can be complicated and need careful investigation to understand what really happened.
What is enticement?
Enticement in criminal charges involving child pornography means luring or persuading a minor to create, share, or participate in explicit images or videos. It involves trying to get a young person involved in illegal activities related to pornography.
Child Pornography Charges in Michigan
Child pornography matters are prosecuted zealously and harshly in Michigan, and there are generally severe mandatory minimum sentences. It is essential that you have an attorney who has years of experience and a track record of success in defending these types of cases to assist you. It is also important that your attorney has access to experts to assist in social and psychological evaluations. A well-thought-out and well-prepared defense is paramount to a favorable outcome. Your best hope is LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. We have the experience and expertise to provide clients with the best possible defense against child pornography allegations, including charges involving coercion and enticement of a minor.
Your Best Defense Against Child Pornography Charges Involving Coercion and Enticement
Defending against child pornography charges involving coercion and enticement can be complex, but several potential defenses may be available depending on the specific circumstances of the case. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney, such as those with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., to determine the best strategy for your situation. Here are some possible defenses:
- Lack of Knowledge or Intent: If you can demonstrate that you were unaware that the material in question involved minors or that you did not intend to possess or distribute child pornography, this could be a valid defense. This may require showing that you had no reason to believe the individuals involved were underage. Although knowledge and intent might not be defenses resulting in the dismissal of charges, these mitigating factors can weigh heavily in negotiations for reduced charges and a lenient sentence.
- Illegal Search and Seizure: If law enforcement obtained evidence of child pornography involving coercion and enticement without a valid warrant or through an unlawful search and seizure, it may be possible to challenge the admissibility of the evidence in court, leading to the dismissal of charges.
- Entrapment: If you can prove that you were induced or coerced by law enforcement or another party into engaging in illegal activities that you otherwise would not have pursued, you might have an entrapment defense. A judge might dismiss all charges if the defense can prove the government engaged in entrapment.
- Age Verification: In some cases, it may be possible to demonstrate that the individuals depicted in the material were not minors when the images were created or that they falsely claimed to be adults. If the government cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the images are of minors, the defendant is not guilty.
- Chain of Custody and Authenticity: Challenging the authenticity or integrity of the evidence, such as the chain of custody for seized materials, might be a viable defense. Few defense lawyers have the credibility to challenge the government’s evidence persuasively. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has the reputation and credibility to challenge the admissibility of evidence successfully.
- Constitutional Violations: If any of your constitutional rights were violated during the investigation or arrest, such as a violation of your right to remain silent or your right to legal counsel, this could be grounds for challenging the charges or evidence. If a confession or incriminating statement was obtained in violation of your rights, an aggressive lawyer can file a Motion to Suppress.
- Mistaken Identity: If you can show that you were not the person responsible for possessing or distributing the illegal material, a mistaken identity defense may be appropriate. The government often searches IP addresses to identify someone possessing, manufacturing, or distributing child pornography. Although this evidence can be compelling, identifying a particular person using a specific IP address can sometimes be ambiguous and speculative.
- Age of Consent Laws: In Michigan, “Romeo and Juliet” laws provide exemptions or reduced penalties when the individuals involved are close in age and engage in consensual sexual activity.
It’s important to note that child pornography charges are taken very seriously, and the legal landscape can be complex. Consulting with a skilled attorney specializing in criminal defense is essential to developing a defense strategy tailored to your case’s unique circumstances and applicable laws in your jurisdiction. When it seems like there is no hope and prison is inevitable, it is time to consult with a top defense lawyer to determine your options and work with them to develop a winning defense strategy.
How Criminal Defense Lawyers Persuade Prosecutors to Dismiss or Reduce Charges
A criminal defense lawyer can employ various strategies to persuade a prosecutor to reduce or dismiss child pornography charges against their client. Still, success depends on the specific circumstances of the case. First, they may scrutinize the evidence to identify any weaknesses, such as issues with the chain of custody or authenticity of the materials in question. If constitutional rights were violated during the investigation or arrest, they could argue for suppression of evidence, potentially weakening the prosecution’s case. Weakening the prosecutor’s case increases the bargaining power of the defense.
Second, the defense attorney might negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea bargain, seeking reduced charges or a more lenient sentence in exchange for a guilty or no-contest plea. In some cases, an influential, respected attorney can propose alternatives to incarceration, such as rehabilitation programs or probation, which could be more appropriate if the client has a low risk of reoffending.
Additionally, the defense lawyer could investigate potential mitigating factors or the client’s background, demonstrating to the prosecutor that the accused poses a minimal threat to society and is genuinely committed to rehabilitation. They might present evidence of childhood abuse, coercion, or manipulation, illustrating that the client was also a victim.
Furthermore, if the client is willing to take proactive steps toward rehabilitation, such as participating in therapy or counseling, the defense attorney can use this commitment as leverage in negotiations with the prosecutor. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. works with some of the top sex offender experts in Michigan to develop comprehensive rehabilitation programs that are proven effective in convincing prosecutors to reduce charges. If a prosecutor (or judge) believes the defendant is genuinely remorseful and getting necessary help to prevent future offenses, they might agree to substantial reductions in charges and a sentence focusing on rehabilitation instead of punishment.
Ultimately, the defense attorney’s ability to persuade the prosecutor depends on their skill in building a compelling case, finding weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence, and presenting a persuasive argument for reduced charges or dismissal. Successful negotiation often hinges on the attorney’s understanding of the law, the nuances of the case, and their ability to advocate for their client’s best interests while also considering the interests of justice.
The premier Michigan law firm defending child pornography. Coercion and Enticement Allegations
If you are facing child pornography charges, the allegations could easily lead to substantial time in prison and registration as a sexual offender, among other things. It is hugely important that you have the best legal assistance available to help you. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience handling these matters. The firm’s attorneys are known for being zealous and aggressive in representing clients. When a firm’s attorney walks into a courtroom, the prosecutor and the judge know that the attorney means business and will not take shortcuts. Our team works tirelessly to ensure that the best representation available is given to each of their clients. The lawyers of LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are award-winning and nationally recognized as being first-rate criminal defense attorneys. When your freedom is at stake, it is not the time to cut corners. Call us for a free consultation today!
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.