Manatee child Pornography Sting…..Are detectives posting links to child porn?

The Manatee Sheriff’s office announced Operation One Way Ticket this week, an operation that culminated in multiple arrestsPrevention rather than prosecution is the way to stop child pornography.

Why do men look at child pornography?  It has to be an illness.  The truth is that it really is a treatable illness.  If you stop and think about it, how could anyone get turned on by looking at a naked prepubescent child, much less, a child engaged in sex.  It just has to be an illness.

There is a common misconception that if someone looks at child porn, they will go on the molest children.  All of the statistical data suggests that this is just not the case.  Many of the men who look at this stuff were molested as a child themselves.  Some of the men have mental challenges and may be functioning at the level of a child themselves.   As a child pornography lawyer, I have represented many men that are autistic or mentally challenged, and they just don’t know any better.
As a sex crime and child pornography lawyer I have been fighting and will continue to fight the unfair policies here in Sarasota and Manatee.

I have always thought that prevention rather than prosecution is the answer.  Most child pornography images have a “hash value”.  It is like a fingerprint, and when the image is transmitted over the Internet, the Internet provider is programmed to create an alert that a child pornography image was just sent.  That alert goes to the police and identifies the IP address from which it was sent, as well as the address it was sent to.  This is what triggers most child pornography investigations and arrests.

Since there are programs that report it, why not just write a program that blocks the transmission of the image.  The FBI and ICAC have a library of almost all of the known images and videos.  Transmission could be stopped with a simple program that prevents it.

What are the child pornography stings actually doing?

There is a fine line between investigating and creating a crime.  Are the police on social media sites posting links to child pornography?  Are the police on social media encouraging people to exchange kiddie porn videos or pics?  Most of the men arrested had nothing to do with creating child pornography.  In fact, most child porn is not made in the United States and comes from other countries.  You cannot stop people in other countries from making it, but we could stop it from being transmitted.

Why are the men arrested charged in so many Counts (charges)?

With the single click of a mouse a zip jpeg file can be downloaded with hundreds of pics or videos.  Once it is in a computer, even if “deleted”, it remains there undetected.  Even if someone gets a child porn video accidently, it cannot be erased short of totally erasing and resetting the entire hard drive of the computer.  Even if a person does not want to possess a child porn image, once it is there, it is next to impossible to get off the computer.

Here in Sarasota and Manatee County, the State attorney and the Sheriff have a policy of charging at least 40 counts, generally second degree felonies, in almost every case.

When they file that many charges (even from one click of the mouse), they run the bond amount through the roof, and more importantly, run the sentencing guidelines so high that most men then face life in prison or a sentence in hundreds of years.

The prosecutors mistakenly believe these men are pedophiles who will go on to molest children, and that is simply not true.  These men need help in the form of intensive counseling.  Putting them in prison for 30 or 40 years does nothing.  Prevention and counseling are the answers to this type of conduct.

The State’s policy here, has resulted in several of the men arrested, facing life, then opting for suicide.  Looking at a picture or a video does not justify a life sentence, much less taking your own life.  These are not contact offenses, and the men who look at a picture had nothing to do with molesting any child.  Many of these men are psychologically damaged themselves.

As a child pornography lawyer, over the years, I have found that most of the men seriously need help, not spending the rest of their life in prison.  If a relative or loved one has been arrested, this is not the time to abandon them.  They need legal and psychological help.

Finding the best child pornography lawyer is a difficult task.  No lawyer should ever claim he is the best, and no good sex crime lawyer should do so.  The simple fact is that there are few criminal defense lawyers that devote their practice to these types of cases.

When you interview lawyers, ask them how many of these types of cases they have actually handled as a defense lawyer, (not as a prosecutor).  As in most things in life, experience counts.  Look at the lawyers actual credentials.  Don’t be fooled by titles like “Super lawyer” or artificially inflated reviews.  Make sure the lawyer you are talking to is the one who going to actually handle the case, and not just refer it out.  Some lawyers are great at advertising.

Go meet with the lawyer.  Is this the person I want standing by me (or my loved one) in the Courtroom?  Is he or she experienced, compassionate, competent and articulate?

Good results are not an accident and only come with hard work and lots of experience.

Most criminal defense lawyers, including myself, do not charge for an initial consultation.

Covid Child Porn Sex Stings

Attorney Peter D Aiken State and Federal Child Pornography Defense Attorney 941-366-3506

June 17 2020

The Covid social distancing issues have cause a spike in child pornography cases.  These are cases the detectives can work without leaving their office.  Also, the social distancing has put many people out of work and consequently many people are sitting at home bored on their computers.  Sheriff Grady Judd just ran a Polk County child pornography sex sting and proudly announced on television the arrests of 16 men he publically called “Deviants”.  He proudly announced that all of them were charged with possession of child pornography with multiple second degree felonies and each faced life under the Florida Sentencing Guidelines.  He claimed that all of them were dangerous and likely to molest children.  He cited the “Butner Report”, a very slanted Government report that falsely claims that people who view child pornography go on to molest children.  That false statement is also sadly the view of many uneducated prosecutors.  The truth is that only about 3% are involved in contact offenses.  The other statistic that is ignored is the fact that the recidivist rate (the likelihood of committing another sex offense) is incredibly low, lower than any of the other crimes.

Addiction to child pornography is a treatable illness.  These men are not “deviants”, they are suffering from an illness.  Many were molested as a child and were victims themselves of sexual abuse at an early age.  Sadly, many in law enforcement do not understand this.

As a child pornography lawyer, I have the benefit of reading many psycho-sexual evaluations done by qualified and experienced psychologists.  The prosecutors on the other hand only hear the spin put on cases by men like Grady Judd. 

When the police run a child pornography Sting, do they post links to child pornography sites?  By law, they cannot post child porn, but they can put links to sites out there, and then, when men to the links, arrest them for receipt or transmission of kiddie porn.  In the perfect world, police are here to serve and protect.  We do not live in a perfect world.  If an agency gets Federal ICAC funding, they have to produce results.  Also, going on television and proudly proclaiming that you are keeping children safe from deviants makes good sense politically and will get you re-elected sheriff.

As a sex crime lawyer, and former prosecutor myself, I understand how misguided the current police philosophy is.  These men are sick and need help, not life in prison.  Prevention is a much better solution than prosecution.  Ninety nine percent of all child pornography could simply be blocked on the Internet, but that would not result in arrest statistics. If you or a loved one has been arrested for possession of child pornography, transmission of child ponrography or are under investigation for child pornography in polk county, call an experienced child pornography defense attorney who can explain your options in your fact specific case . At Aiken and O’Halloran there is no charge for your initial consultation. Call Today at 941-366-3506.

I welcome your comments

How much time will I do on a Florida prison sentence?

Attorney Peter D Aiken State and Federal Child Pornography Defense Attorney 941-366-3506

How much time will I do on a Florida prison sentence?

Right now, that is difficult to predict.  It depends on what the underlying offense is.  Is there a minimum mandatory sentence?  Are you eligible for gain time?

The law is about to change?  Florida Senate Bill 394 is working its way through the Senate.  If passed, it will change the amount of time served from 85% or a sentence to 65% and for many prisoners,  and that can make a huge difference in thousands of sentences.  If they make it retroactive, it will make thousands  eligible for immediate release.  The Senate is going over the language of the bill and no one yet knows what will get passed, if anything, much less whether this Governor will sign it.

Contact your Florida Senator and ask him to pass this bill.  For first time non violent offenders prison sentences increase recidivism.  Long prison sentences should only be for people who are a danger to society.

For Example, here in Sarasota, the State attorney, in child pornography cases always files 40 second degree felony charges and intentionally runs up the Florida Sentencing guidelines, making people score for decades in prison.  In Sarasota and Manatee County, on a child pornography charge, you can get more prison time than on many violent contact crime felonies.  Did you know that with one click of a mouse a person can download dozens of pictures or videos which our State Attorney files as individual separate “Counts”.  The State does this on purpose here in Sarasota and Bradenton to force the judges to impose horrible sentences.  On a forty count charge the penalty can be six hundred years.  This is crazy. This is absolute guideline manipulation and is a practice that needs to stop.  It is crazy that here in Sarasota, that you will get more time for looking at a picture than committing a real contact crime.

The State Attorney mistakenly believes that people who look at pictures go on to molest kids.  That is absolutely not true but he and some of his assistants believe it.  The truth is that many people who look at child pornography do so because they were themselves sexually molested as kids.  Sadly, here in Sarasota, the judges so far have not taken any steps to curb this abuse.

As a Sarasota sex crime lawyer, I have tried to educate some of the prosecutors and help them understand a little more about why people look at child porn.  Their hands are tied by those at the top and even if they disagree, they always file forty counts and seek life in prison on men for just looking at pictures.  Things really need to change here in Sarasota.  In the meantime, as a child pornography lawyer I will keep fighting the fight not only to win the case but to convince the judges to impose fair sentences, and not life in prison.