Court Clarifies What Constitutes Causing the Production of Child Pornography in Florida Case

If you are currently facing sex crime charges, it is important to be aware of both the elements of the crime charged and the elements considered for sentencing if you are convicted of the crime. The elements weighed for sentencing may be different than those needed to find a defendant guilty, and if certain elements are present it may result in increased penalties.

For example, in a recent federal appellate case which arose out of a Florida district court, the court held that the sentencing guidelines for child pornography allow for enhanced sentencing for a person convicted of possession of child pornography, if the offender is determined to have produced or caused the production of such pornography. If you are a resident of Clearwater currently facing sex crime charges, you should consult a skilled Clearwater sex crimes defense attorney to help you develop a plan to help you retain your rights.

Defendant’s Conviction and Sentencing

Allegedly, the defendant was convicted of conspiring to receive and possess child pornography and receiving child pornography. He was sentenced to 480 months in prison. He appealed his sentence on the grounds that the trial court erred when it determined that he’d produced or caused the production of child pornography in determining an appropriate sentence. He further argued his sentence was unreasonable due to certain mitigating factors such as his lack of criminal history, his record of public service, and his unstable childhood. On appeal, the court affirmed his sentence.

Sentencing Guidelines for Child Pornography

The sentencing guidelines for child pornography crimes provide that when a crime involves causing, permitting, or seeking a minor’s involvement in sexually explicit behavior for the purpose of a visual depiction of the behavior, increased sentencing guidelines are implicated.  In analyzing the guidelines, the court found that “causing” meant to produce an effect or result, or bearing responsibility for an action. The court noted that cases where individuals requested live performances of sexual activity in a video chat room or asked someone to take pictures of children engaged in sexual activity it was ruled such behavior caused the production of child pornography. In the subject case, the court found that the defendant’s alleged requests for pictures and video of sexual activity involving a child were actions that constituted seeking a minor to engage in sexual activity for the purposes of soliciting pornography. As such, the court found the trial court properly applied the enhanced sentencing guidelines. As to the reasonableness of the defendant’s sentence, the court found that the sentence was appropriate, given the nature of the defendant’s requests, statements allegedly made by the defendant, and the duration of his conduct.

Meet with a Knowledgeable Clearwater Sex Crime Defense Attorney

If you live in Clearwater and are charged with a sex crime, you should meet with a sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss the facts of your case and to develop a plan to defend against the charges you face. William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a skilled Clearwater sex crimes defense attorney who will aggressively advocate on your behalf. Contact our offices at 727-897-5413 or via the online form to schedule a consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Florida Court Vacates Sentence for a Defendant who Entered an Open Plea for Lewd and Lascivious Behavior  December 11, 2018, Clearwater Sex Crimes Lawyer Blog

‘No Contest’ Plea Gets Second Look in Florida Sex Crime Case June 6, 2018, Clearwater Sex Crimes Lawyer Blog

Constructive Possession in Florida Child Pornography Cases December 7, 2018, Clearwater Sex Crimes Lawyer Blog

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