Police in Florida have reported that a 28-year-old man has been taken into custody after officers discovered 40 or more images of children engaging in sex acts on his computer. The Sarasota resident has been charged with 40 counts of possessing child pornography and was remanded to the Sarasota County Jail after being denied a bond. A Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office representative said that further charges could be added as the investigation continues to unfold.
Authorities say that the man became a person of interest when a computer IP address that had been used to download as many as 15,000 files thought to contain images of minors engaging in sex acts was traced to his residence. Reports indicate that the detectives assigned to the case learned about the nature of the files in question from members of an Internet Crimes Against Children task force. The ICAC is part of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the Department of Justice.
After obtaining a search warrant for the man’s home, police say that they discovered the pornographic images after performing a forensic scan of his computer’s hard drive. The discovery of the images led to multiple charges of possession of materials depicting a sexual performance by a child, which is a class 3 felony under Florida law.
Cases involving child pornography can be challenging for experienced criminal defense attorneys. These cases often garner significant media interest and provoke a great deal of public outrage, which can make it difficult for both prosecutors and defense attorneys to concentrate on the legal issues involved and negotiate plea agreements in good faith. While the evidence in these cases may seem compelling in media reports, it may not withstand judicial scrutiny if police officers appear to have stepped beyond boundaries established by the Fourth Amendment.