What Should I Do After the Feds Search My Home and Take My Computers in a Child Pornography Investigation?
If anyone is found possessing, producing, selling or distributing any material depicting a child under 18 in a sexual manner, they could face federal charges of child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2252.
The subsections of 18 U.S.C. § 2252 describe different categories of conduct covered by the statute. For example, it's a federal crime to knowingly transport child porn using interstate commerce, by computer or mail, visual depictions of a minor who is engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
These subsections also make it a crime to receive or distribute child pornography images, including downloading child porn from a website, or sharing images with other internet users through a file sharing service.
18 U.S.C. § 2252 not only defines selling, or possession with intent to sell child porno images, it also makes it a federal crime to just have possession of child pornography. There are several related statutes, including:
- 18 U.S.C. § 1462 – Importing or transporting obscene matters,
- 18 U.S.C. § 1465 – Transporting obscene matters for sale or distribution,
- 18 U.S.C. § 1470 – Transferring obscene material to minors,
- 18 U.S.C. § 2251 – Sexual exploitation of children,
- 18 U.S.C. § 2251A – Selling and buying of children,
- 18 U.S.C. § 2252A – Activities relating to material with child pornography,
- 18 U.S.C. § 2260 – Production of explicit depictions of minor to Import into United States
Peer to Peer Networks
Peer to peer networks often create severe issues for a defendant who is accused of violating child pornography laws under the federal system.
If a federal prosecutor can prove a defendant was responsible for distributing child porn, they should expect a more severe federal sentence.
In some cases, someone who was using a peer to peer network are not aware that accessing the network will open their own computer files to other members within the network for downloading files.
In other words, if another network member, or federal law enforcement investigator, is able to download child porn from your computer through this network, it means you not only were in possession of child pornography, but could also be found guilty of distribution of child pornography, which carries harsh penalties.
Seizure of Property in a Child Porn Investigation
This happens all the time the feds. The feds will get some information on the internet. They'll come to a person's house with a search warrant. They'll take all of their electronics:
- their computers,
- their tablets,
- their phones.
They'll talk to the person to try to confirm that everything they took is actually theirs, and try to get them to incriminate themselves and admit that they were involved in the possession or distribution of child pornography.
Then, they'll leave and leave a piece of paper showing that they came, what they took and now you're sitting there wondering what are you supposed to do next?
The first move is to get to an attorney like me who's been doing this for decades at the federal level and handling child pornography-related offenses since their inception.
Which, believe it or not, is not that long ago as it relates to the internet. So, you need an attorney who knows what they're doing.
The next thing is, obviously, have no further communications whatsoever with the authorities. Sometimes they'll come in with a joint task force where you have a combination of federal agents and state agents looking for child pornography. Once you can meet with me:
- we will talk about exactly what was seized,
- what they're going to find when they search the computers, etc.,
- what your next steps moving forward,
- whether or not you've done or said anything to incriminate yourself.
These are the types of conversations we're going to have when we meet in an effort to try to protect your rights, your freedom, your reputation and everything that's important to you.
Use of Forensic Expert
Child pornography investigations can sometimes take time, and the reason for that is when they grab your computer and all of your stuff, you're talking about using a forensic expert to go through the computer to see if there's any encryptions.
They will also try to see what is downloaded and a lot of times they can get through the encryptions and get the data on the computer, but it takes time.
Not only does it take time, there are a lot of cases pending. So, you get put in line behind other people. So, what you want your attorney to do is reach out to:
- the agents that took your stuff,
- find out if there's a federal prosecutor involved with the case,
- find out what information you can get regarding the investigation, and
- then make any necessary moves on your behalf.
Because the defense is entitled to do an investigation also and do what they want regarding the case as well.
Retain a Federal Criminal Lawyer
Obviously, you're not going to know what to do, so you need a federal criminal defense attorney who is:
- familiar with possession of child pornography,
- chatting on the internet as it relates to that,
- distribution of child pornography, and
- production of child pornography.
These are all of the different crimes that somebody can get saddled with once the feds go through your computers, your tablets and all the information that they seize at your home or your office.
So, your first move is to get to an attorney like me who has the experience to help you and will take control of your case and protect your rights, your reputation and your freedom.
Take the first step. Pick up the phone. Set up a meeting with me and get an expert on your side. My name is Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you.
The office of the Hedding Law Firm is in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. We offer a free consultation at (213) 542-0994.