South Florida ICE Chief Placed on Leave After Authorities Find Emailed Child Porn

April 18, 2011 by David S. Seltzer

As a child pornography criminal defense attorney based in South Florida, I was very interested to read about a law enforcement investigation of one of its own — in fact, the head of the immigration and customs office in Miami. As the Miami Herald reported April 12, Anthony Mangione, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in South Florida, has been placed on paid administrative leave while authorities from other agencies look into allegations that he received child pornography sent to his home computer. The images came through an AOL account, and AOL initially alerted authorities to the objectionable content. Mangione is not currently charged with a crime.

AOL and other Internet service providers are required by law to tell the Center for Missing and Exploited Children when they find evidence of online child pornography crimes. Based on that alert, the FBI subpoenaed AOL’s records to determine the owner of the email account, then got a search warrant for Mangione’s home in Parkland. Authorities also seized his computer at ICE’s offices. Mangione’s office has made child pornography investigations a priority at ICE, which also handles immigration crimes, terrorism and smuggling. He is suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation. One federal official said that could take a while because the computers need to be examined for evidence that Mangione sent, received or distributed illegal images.

The intersection between Mangione’s work and the crime he’s accused of interests me greatly as a child pornography defense lawyer. In December, I wrote about a lawyer in South Dakota who was prosecuted for possession of child pornography he said he was given as part of a criminal defense case. That lawyer was ultimately acquitted, but not before a trial, at which prosecutors did their best to convince jurors he was a fan of child pornography. If something similar happened to Mangione, he could be subjected to the same kind of public trial. This is terribly unfair to people who turn out to be not guilty, because accusations alone can be enough to destroy friendships and harm careers. That’s why, as a cyber crime criminal defense attorney, I hope the FBI and the Broward Sheriff’s office carefully consider any evidence that might exist suggesting Mangione had a legitimate reason for receiving the images.

If you’re accused of a child pornography online crime, you need experienced legal help right away. To speak to someone about your case and your options right away, you can call Seltzer Law, P.A., 24 hours a day and seven days a week. For a free, confidential case evaluation, send us an email or call 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333).