STATE v. D.L.
Maximum Penalty: 20 years prison (5 years on each count); $20,000.00 fine and 2 years of probation
Summary: Members from the local PD paid a visit to my client and asked to examine his laptop based on information obtained from NIMIC that my client has been downloading and distributing child pornography. My client complied with the PD's request and even went so far as to provide his password info for his laptop. It was soon discovered that the laptop contained child pornography. My client denied viewing the material for sexual gratification purposes. He was ultimately indicted on the charges.
Result: Client was placed on deferred disposition for a period of 18 months with the end result being a dismissal of the felony charges and a guilty plea to a single count of Invasion of Computer Privacy (non-registerable misdemeanor offense). Client was given a psychosexual evaluation where it was learned that he posed no threat to children and never viewed the child porn with an eye towards sexual gratification. Ultimately, the client was acting as a "vigilante". He would track people down through online file sharing networks, find out who had child pornography, and then threaten to turn them into the police if they didn't take down the offensive content. While it was a noble ideal, it was still illegal. However, these facts as well as other issues presented to the DA got us into a position to negotiate a dismissal of the felony charges. Client no longer has to worry about registering as a sex offender as a result of the deal reached.