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Sex crime images might inflame Florida juries

Florida officials can be overly zealous in prosecuting child pornography cases. The state law defines child pornography as any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct. An experienced sex crimes defense lawyer might assert that the exact nature of the acts is more prejudicial than probative, and should not be shown to jurors.

Yet some prosecutors may be tempted to use graphic evidence obtained from a criminal defendant's computer, Internet accounts, or other electronic sources in an attempt to inflame jurors. The tactic may result in an unjust conviction, or perhaps an overly severe sentence.

That prosecutorial temptation may play out in the latest arrest for child pornography, involving a 28-year-old Florida woman. According to federal authorities, the woman had been producing child pornography by videoing herself performing sex acts with at least two different children. The woman then transmitted the images to a man in North Carolina using Skype, email and her cell phone. FBI agents arrested the woman on three child pornography charges, and have confirmed that they found child pornography on the woman's computer.

An experienced child pornography defense lawyer will likely take a proactive approach, reaching out to prosecutors to reach the most favorable outcome for his or her client. The consequences of a conviction can be severe, including sex offender registration, imprisonment, and adverse social and employment impact. Yet there may be an opportunity for a plea bargain, or a way to minimize the punishment while working toward the defendant's rehabilitation through counseling and other programs.

Source: orlandosentinel.com, "Oviedo woman accused of sexually abusing children, taping incidents," Amy Pavuk, March 15, 2013

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