The consequences for possessing, selling, or distributing child pornography can be severe. In today’s information age, most child pornography offenses occur on the Internet, which crosses state lines. Early in 2013, suspects from San Francisco, California were among 245 individuals (both male and female) who were arrested in “Operation Sunflower” a federal sweep of people believed to be traders, producers, or owners of child pornography. The sweep was dubbed Operation Sunflower to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the rescue of an eleven-year-old in Kansas that resulted from the identification of a sunflower-shaped highway road sign. In another early 2013 federal case in San Francisco, a man was sentenced to 135 months in prison for transportation of child pornography.
Child pornography offenses can usually be prosecuted in either state or federal court, but the consequences imposed in federal court are generally more severe than in state court. A conviction for a child pornography offense such as possession or distribution has consequences that go beyond the legal penalties described below—it can also lead to social stigma. As soon as you become aware that you are being investigated for a child pornography offense, you should consult a knowledgeable San Francisco criminal lawyer with experience handling child pornography charges, so that he or she can help steer the case toward a better outcome.
What is Child Pornography Under the Law?
The California Penal Code defines child pornography as material that depicts people under age 18 engaging in or simulating sexual conduct. It does not include drawings, statues, or those films that are rated by the Motion Picture Association of America, nor live or recorded telephone messages when they are transmitted, disseminated, or distributed as part of a commercial transaction.
Federal law has a different definition for child pornography. The federal PROTECT Act of 2003 criminalized visual pornographic objects such as a “drawing, cartoon, sculpture or painting … that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in … sexual intercourse … and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” The impact of these definitions comes through in the sentencing guidelines, which differentiate between whether the pornography is produced, distributed, purchased, or received, and also vary the severity of the punishments based on how young the child is.
- What Happens During an Investigation and Trial for Child Pornography?
- The Penalties for Child Pornography Conviction
Whether you or a loved one are facing charges or being investigated for a child pornography offense, contact the knowledgeable San Francisco criminal lawyers at Dudek & Cintean, LLP for a vigorous defense in either state or federal court. Call us at (415) 946-4020 for a consultation or contact us online.
Call us at (415) 946-4020 for a consultation.
Alin Cintean, Attorney at Law and Richard Dudek, Attorney at Law
201 Spear St #1100
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 946-4020
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