Our most recent post introduced a two-part series on factors that can affect the penalties for a child pornography-related conviction. The same federal judge issued sentences in two separate California child pornography cases on the same day. This post will look closer at those two sentences in addition to other factors that can affect child pornography consequences.
Like other online sex crimes, the penalties for child pornography convictions are severe. Many convictions result in a minimum five-year prison sentence followed by supervised release periods and mandatory registration as a sex offender.
In the first case, the defendant pled guilty to possessing 54 images on his cellphone and received a 10-year sentence, followed by 15 years of supervised release. The second defendant pled guilty to receiving much more material-280 videos and 478 images. He will serve only six and a half years in prison, again followed by supervised release.
Some likely factors might explain the difference. The first defendant had a prior conviction for another child sex crime. This usually triggers a significantly longer sentence. Penalties also change according to the conduct involved. Generally, manufacturing and distributing child pornography involve longer sentences than mere possession.
The amount of material involved can also affect a sentence. Although the second defendant in these cases received a lighter sentence, this may have been because the first defendant already had a criminal history involving children.
Regardless of the individual sentences, a conviction results in registration as a sex offender. Registration leaves a permanent impact and can make it very hard to find a home or a job.
Given the severity and wide range of penalties, defendants should consult with an experienced online sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible.
Source: KSEE 24, "Two Fresno County Men Indicted on Child Porn Charges," Oct. 15, 2012