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SUMMARY: COMPUTER CYBER-CRIMES AND SEX OFFENSES:
If you are utilizing the BitTorrent protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing, you should be aware that your computer is subject to being remotely searched by law enforcement for the presence of “torrent files” that have been previously identified by law enforcement as being of “investigative interest”, even without a warrant. Law enforcement routinely identifies the presence of suspicious torrent files on computers through the use of covert computer searches in an effort to establish probable cause to obtain a search warrant. But does this investigative technique constitute a warrantless search?
After a search warrant is obtained, it is not unusual for law enforcement to find numerous potentially illegal images and/or video files on the computer hard drive. But did the user even know these image and/or video files were present? Is there evidence that the user sought such content out, or was it unknowingly downloaded?
In such cases, there are many questions that must be addressed and answered by the defense. But computer sex offense cases do not just include possession or distribution of child pornography. Computer sex offense cases can include, but are not limited to, the following:
COMPUTER CYBER-CRIMES AND SEX OFFENSES IN OHIO
- Importuning, in violation of R.C. 2907.07 (soliciting a person less than 13 years of age to engage in sexual activity) http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2907.07 ;
- Commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, in violation of R.C. 2907.19 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2907.19 ;
- Disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, in violation of R.C. 2907.31 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2907.31 ;
- Pandering obscenity, in violation of R.C. 2907.32 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2907.32 ;
- Pandering obscenity involving a minor, in violation of R.C. 2907.321 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2907.321 ;
- Pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, in violation of R.C. 2907.322 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2907.322 ;
- Illegal use of minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, in violation of R.C. 2907.323 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2907.323 .
COMPUTER CYBER-CRIMES AND SEX FEDERAL OFFENSES
- Obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1466A https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1466A ;
- Transfer of obscene material to minors, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1470 https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1470 .
CONSEQUENCES OF CONVICTION FOR COMPUTER SEX OFFENSE CASES:
In such cases, the range of sentences that courts can impose range from probation to several decades of imprisonment, as each actionable video and/or image file will typically be charged as a separate offense. Further, the possibility of consecutive sentences for multiple felony counts gives courts an extremely broad range of sentencing options. There is extreme disparity and inconsistency in sentences imposed in such cases. It is not unusual for individuals convicted of State and/or federal child pornography charges to be sentenced to decades of imprisonment.
SEX OFFENDER CLASSIFICATIONS:
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (“Adam Walsh Act”) is a federal statute, which was enacted in 2006. The Act classifies sex offenders and sets standards for registration, creating a national registry. Ohio has implemented its own Adam Walsh Act. See O.R.C. § 2950 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2950 . Under the Adam Walsh Act sex offenders are classified on a tier level: Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3, with Tier 1 being the least serious and Tier 3 the most serious. Each offense is classified as a specific Tier level.
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION:
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, sets out standards for sex offender registration. Ohio has substantively implemented SORNA.
For purposes of registration, a sex offender is any individual who was convicted of a sex offense. A sex offender must register in the jurisdiction where he resides, is an employee, and/or is a student. The offender must keep the registration up-to-date. Keeping registration up-to-date requires the offender to personally appear in a jurisdiction no later than 3 business following a change in address, employment, or student status to update his sex offender registry. The offender must also update the registry if the offender has a name change. If the offender is convicted in a jurisdiction other than the one in which he lives, then he must initially register there as well.
Ohio requires a Tier I offender to register for 15 years, a Tier II offender to register for 25 years, and a Tier III offender to register for life. Further, in-person appearances are generally required once a year for a Tier I offender, twice a year for a Tier II offender, and every three months for a Tier III offender.
The Ohio Registry can be viewed by anyone and contains information such as the offender’s name, Tier level, age, race, hair color, height, weight, eye color, any scars and/or tattoos, address, and the offense that the offender was convicted of, as well as the date of conviction. The registry also contains a current photograph of the offender.
CALL ZUKERMAN ABOUT COMPUTER CYBER-CRIMES AND SEX OFFENSES:
If you or a family member is under investigation for, or have been charged with, state or federal computer sex crimes, contact Zukerman, Lear & Murray Co., L.P.A. immediately. We will review your case under a microscope and let no detail or piece of evidence go unexamined. We use our experience and creativity to secure every advantage for you or your family member because anything less would be an injustice. We are on-call 24/7. We return every call. We answer every question. Our goal is to win every case that comes to us. You can rest easy knowing that we as your attorney will hold nothing back in our fight for the future of you or your family member.