Understanding Waiver of Appellate Rights in Child Pornography Cases

Whether a valid waiver of appellate rights occurred is a question of law that courts will review de novo. The question in this case is whether Defendant “knowingly and expressly” waived any and all rights to appeal his conviction and sentence, except for a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Understanding Conditions of Probation in Child Pornography Cases

The conditions of probation prohibited Defendant from possessing sexually explicit material – including child pornography, accessing the internet or electronic devices without permission, using nonapproved social media or chat websites, and consuming alcohol or drugs. A standard condition of probation for child pornography-related crimes required Defendant to “submit at any time to an unannounced visit and/or search of the offender’s person, vehicle or premises by the agent/designee.”

Circumstantial Evidence in Child Pornography Cases

In Child Pornography Cases Indirect Evidence Can Lead to Conviction. The defendant argues there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction for production of child pornography. The defendant argues that while the minor victim testified Ashford requested and she sent sexually explicit pictures of herself to his Facebook Messenger account, no direct evidence showed he actually sent and received those communications.

Challenging Expert Testimony in Child Pornography Cases

Expert testimony can play an important part in child pornography cases. In this case, the defendant contends that the prosecution’s expert lacked the qualifications necessary to provide an expert opinion as to identity-based upon the comparison of finger and knuckle creases as shown in the two sets of photos. The defendant claims that the government’s expert instead used a generic method unreliable for the comparison of finger and knuckle creases.

Examining Defense Witness Testimony in Child Pornography Cases

Defendant argued that the hearsay statement contains sufficient circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness to be admissible.

Determining Indigency in Child Pornography Cases

In child pornography cases, the determination of indigency is a determination for the district court to make in the first instance, in light of true facts, and is subject to review for clear error.

Involuntary Statements in Child Pornography Cases

A statement is involuntary when it is extracted by threats, violence, or express or implied promises sufficient to overbear the defendant’s will and critically impair his capacity for self-determination. There are several factors used to determine voluntariness of statements in child pornography cases.

Appealing a Guilty Plea in Child Pornography Cases

The case relates to that defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Defendant alleged that he had been taking medications with side effects that interfered with his ability to make a knowing and intelligent plea.

Sentencing Considerations in Child Pornography Cases

The district court imposed a 5-year probationary period, and in concluding that the defendant posed a physical danger to children, the district court relied on inferences unsupported by the record and facts that bear only on the risk that he might seek out child pornography in the future.