Miami is no different in Prosecuting Child Pornography

February 24, 2008 by David S. Seltzer

Take it from someone who has been there, this article rings true - Technology Complicates Prosecution. Prosecution has become a cost benefit analysis, more so than one might realize. Cost - budgets are getting slashed, to the point where the courts, the state, and all other agencies involved are looking at ways to cut costs. Benefit – the defendants. Defendants are not getting charged with the maximum counts they may be exposed to, since the State cannot afford to prove the charges. Experts cost money, and the State has none. Trials for child pornography based on the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding manipulated images and computer generated images, have turned a child pornography case into a battle of experts. Whose expert is more believable? Whose is more qualified? To the naked eye, a computer generated image is indistinguishable.

Check out this article by Dr. Hany Farid. He is one of the foremost experts in computer generated graphics. Creating and Detecing Doctored and Virtual Images.

As a defendant in a case involving computer images, you’re given the slight advantage if you can get the jury to believe the images are not real. However, when a jury sees a child pornographic image, it is hard for them to believe that someone actually used a computer to generate the image. There are a lot of factors that people often overlook when looking at an image. The person or individual in the image is not generally the best way to tell whether the image is real or fake. Experts will look at lights and shadows, human interaction with other humans, or objects. Other things to look at are the creases in pillows, sheets, indentations on couches, beds, clothing, the list goes on. Creating the perfect computer generated image will take an inordinate amount of time. But here is the kicker. If, and I stress if, a defendant can prove that one image on their computer is computer generated, as it relates to child pornography, a jury will probably have a really hard time believing a State expert that the rest are real and not computer generated. Battle of the experts…

Look for more to follow on this topic. This is just the start. As technology evolves, the sky is the limit. For more information, or to discuss this issue, please feel free to contact me. I have tried possession of child pornography cases and experienced all the issues addressed in the above article. The issues are real, and a smart defense lawyer with experience can help a defendant.