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Florida Court Discusses Admission of Evidence of Other Crimes

When people are charged with possessing or distributing child pornography, it is because an investigation revealed pornography in their possession. In most instances, the State cannot introduce evidence of wrongful acts to support the assertion that a person committed a crime, but in some circumstances, such evidence is admissible. The grounds for admitting evidence of a wrongful act was the topic of a recent Florida opinion in a case in which a defendant charged with possession of child pornography objected to the introduction of evidence he possessed child erotica. If you are accused of possession of child pornography, it is prudent to speak to a knowledgeable Florida criminal defense attorney regarding your rights.

The Evidence and Charges

It is reported that in 2018 the police conducted an undercover investigation of a file-sharing network that was used to distribute child pornography and found a computer that linked to the network. An IP address linked the computer to the defendant’s home. The police obtained a search warrant and found the computer, after which they read the defendant his Miranda rights and conducted an interview.

Allegedly, the defendant admitted to using the computer and the file-sharing network to obtain child pornography from a site in Russia. The police found images of child erotica and child pornography on the computer, after which the defendant was charged with three child pornography crimes. During the trial, the prosecution admitted the child erotica images into evidence over the defendant’s objection. The defendant was convicted, after which he appealed.

Admission of Evidence of Wrongs and Other Acts

On appeal, the defendant argued in part that the trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to admit the child erotica images into evidence. The appellate court agreed with the trial court’s reasoning that the images were inextricably intertwined with the evidence of child pornography found on the defendant’s computer, and therefore, the admission was proper.

Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, evidence of a wrong, crime, or other act cannot be admitted to prove a person’s character in order to demonstrate that a person will act in accordance with that character on a particular occasion. There is an exception, however, for evidence that is inextricably intertwined with evidence of the charged offense. Evidence will be inseparably intertwined with evidence of a charged crime if it forms a natural and integral part of the circumstances surrounding the defendant’s charges.

In the subject case, the images of child erotica were from the same website as the child pornography found on the defendant’s computer. Further, they were all part of a series that progressed from erotica to child pornography. Thus, they were an integral part of the evidence of the crime.

Speak to a Seasoned Criminal Defense Attorney in Florida

A conviction for the possession of child pornography can carry a significant sentence and can permanently impact your life. If you are accused of owning child pornography or any other offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer to discuss your possible defenses. Attorney Genine Ann Mejia is a seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in what it takes to achieve favorable results, and if you hire her, she will work tirelessly to help you fight to protect your rights. You can contact Ms. Mejia via the form online or at (386) 463-0849 to schedule a conference.

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