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A visual depiction of a minor, or someone who looks like a minor, engaging in conduct that is sexually explicit is committing the crime of child pornography. A minor is considered someone under the age of 18, and “sexually explicit conduct” is described as a depiction of sexual intercourse that is actual or simulated; masturbation; and abuse or lewd exhibition of a minor’s genitals or pubic area. The fairly recent explosion of camera phones and digital cameras has also created an explosion of opportunities for many people to produce self-portraits and to share them with the world. Sometimes this sense of freedom and fun can lead to criminal activity by some. With the ever-growing use of and growth of the internet, which is able to send images across the world, these kinds of crimes easily grow larger. They are spread with the use of films and photographs, video, digital- and computer-generated images or pictures, drawings, and animations, among others. This act may also be a crime if the face of a minor that is edited onto the body of an adult is shown in a sexual manner.
Child pornography is prohibited in all 50 U.S. states under several federal and state laws. Federal law U.S.C. Chapter 110, Sexual Exploitation and Other Abuse of Children, prohibits child pornography. Such federal and state laws cover the sexual exploitation of children; selling and buying of children; possession, distribution, and receipt of child pornography; activities that use material constituting or containing child pornography;. and the production of sexually explicit images of a minor to be used to import to the United States. A first-time conviction for child pornography may mean 15-20 years in prison in addition to fines, and these trials may be held in federal or state courts or both.
As severe as these federal and state laws appear, there is one exception to the definition of child pornography. An exception may be granted if it can be shown that the image or depiction has some true literary, artistic, or scientific value. In a child pornography case, the court may use the guidelines of U.S. v. Dost. This case from 1986 charged defendants Dost and Wiegand with enticing minor children and using them to pose nude. However, it was judged that, in one case, the photographs of a 10-year-old girl who was sitting nude on the beach did not meet the definition of “sexually explicit conduct.” Many courts now use these six criteria (although not all six must be present) that stem from the “Dost test”:
* Does the depiction focus on the genital area?
* Is the setting of the photograph sexually suggestive, such as a nude girl
sitting on a bed?
* Is the child photographed in clothing that is not appropriate for her age?
* Is the child nude or only partially clothed?
* Does the depiction make it seem as though the child is ready for sexual
* Is the depiction likely to induce a sexual reaction by the viewer?
If you feel that you have been unfairly charged with any depiction that involves child pornography, you need a firm that understands these laws and will work to get you the best and fairest results for your case. A charge of child pornography is a time of unbelievable stress, and at our firm, we not only take these charges seriously but we understand the turmoil that is involved. We pride ourselves on handling each case with individuality and understanding. We assure professional communication and our promise to use our experience in bringing you the best possible results.
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