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About the Ridiculous Punishments for Possessing Child Porn

Alright, alright.

Let’s be honest: you’ve looked at legal adult pornography haven’t you?

Nearly every person who’s walked the earth has, or would like to. That doesn’t make it okay, or a good thing. But, let’s just get real.

However, if you cross the legal lines and look at child porn, the story changes dramatically.

And it gets way worse.

I’ll level with you:

while viewing and possessing child porn isn’t a good or legal thing, the punishments for it can be outrageously harsh. What’s interesting is the federal and state governments do nothing to Google or Craigslist to stop the proliferation of child porn. But, on the other hand, they prosecute the living heck out of anyone who views or distributes it via those websites.

Make no mistake about it: the Fed and State have no desire to prosecute you fairly. That’s because going easy on child porn makes them look bad. And that means their positions get placed in jeopardy. And they don’t want to look stupid in public or lose their powerful positions, healthy salaries, and awesome benefits. So, they’re not going to pull any punches about prosecuting you as harshly as they can.

The Ridiculous Sentences You Can Get for Possessing Child Porn

According to USSG §2G2.1, Federal judges get appointed for life. And they develop rigid and harsh attitudes because of the power they have. Prosecutors will charge you with a crime that could get you up to 40 years in Federal prison. Because of the way the law’s written, they can allege and convict you of distributing child porn simply by possessing it, even if that wasn’t really the case.

In fact, the laws are so unfair that many individuals charged with child porn possession at the Federal level get harsher sentences than murderers at the State level!

Also according to 18 USC § 2251 and 2252, you can experience the following:

  • Producing child porn: statutory minimum of 15 years up to a max of 30 years in prison
  • Transporting child porn: minimum of 5 years and up to 20 years in prison
  • Receipt, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute or sell: 5-year statutory minimum
  • If you have prior convictions, your sentence may get enhanced

If the charges are “aggravated,” you may have your punishment increased also. “Aggravated” circumstances include:

  • Violent, sadistic, or masochistic images
  • The minor gets sexually abused

When “aggravating” factors become involved, you can get put in prison for life. Plus, you can also get prosecuted under state laws in addition to any federal violations.

What To Do If Federal Investigators Come to Your Home or Work with a Search Warrant

If you find yourself in this situation, only confirm your identity with authorities, and that’s it. Whenever alleged child porn violations happen over the Internet, it’s almost always going to be a Federal investigation.

If the Fed shows up at your home, requesting to search it:

  • Do not give a written statement.
  • Don’t answer any other questions.
  • Make them show you a warrant to search your home. If they can’t produce it, don’t let them in.
  • If they have a search warrant, let them in and stand outside. That puts you in the safest legal position.

Examples of Acts that Qualify as Child Porn Crimes

Not all child porn crimes are the rampant ones you hear about on TV. Usually, only the most extreme and sensational situations make it to television.

Consider some of these real-life examples that can happen to common people:

  1. Your 18-year-old son, still in high school, “sexts” naked photos of his underage girlfriend to his friends (that’s child porn production and distribution)
  2. Your 18-year-old son has sex with his 14-year-old freshman girlfriend
  3. A 22-year-old man makes a home video, with his girlfriend’s consent, of the two having sex. He puts the video on his computer (child porn production).
  4. You visit a website and download child porn images (possession).

Now, you can certainly argue that any of the above situations involve lacking good judgment. And yeah, some probably should be illegal and carry some jail time.

However, should that person have to spend a minimum of 5 years in jail, and up to 40?

Federal judges and prosecutors think so.

Common sense says that’s insane.

The problem is these federal penalties have been increasing, not because of evidence and a sense of justice, but because of people’s revulsion and, of course, politics. The actual effect of these sentences is that they make Americans feel better.

But do they encourage the safety of the victims?

Do they help the offenders rehabilitate psychologically so they don’t commit the acts again?

Troy Stabenow, an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Missouri’s Western District, found this after reviewing federal sentencing guidelines:

“…[L]ower punishments for people who attempt to engage children in sex acts than for those who only possessed and swapped pictures.”

What sense does that make?

Make Sure You Find an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer to Defend You

Because of the absurdity and inconsistency of the law, and because the Fed has so much power, the best thing you can do to protect yourself when you face child porn charges is to hire an experience criminal defense attorney. Look for one with a demonstrated track record of success. Make sure you ask them when you talk to them about cases they have won in the past.

It’s the only way to get fairness in a legal system that doesn’t want justice.