Why Do You Handle Sex Crime Cases?
I was an Assistant District Attorney at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office for 8 years. For 2 ½ years during my tenure, I was a Child Abuse Prosecutor. I have years of experience investigating and defending sex crimes cases. As a criminal defense attorney, I use my previous experience as a former child sex crimes prosecutor to the benefit of my clients, because I know the means and methods that prosecutors and the police use to file charges and seek convictions in these types of cases. I’ve found that many people who have been charged with sex crimes are falsely accused. Many false allegations arise out of divorce and child custody proceedings.
Often a disgruntled spouse is angry and trying to get a benefit in the custody battle and divorce and coerces the child into making a false accusation. Sometimes a child is angry at a parent or step-parent and they make false accusations to try and get punish the parent or get them out of the picture. Often, the only evidence in sex crimes cases is the word of the child as there are no witnesses or forensic evidence available. It is the child’s word against the adult’s word. I have the experience to defend these cases and I like to win.
WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL SEXCRIMES THAT INVOLVE MINORS?
Among the most common child sex crimes are aggravated sexual assault of a child or indecency with a child by contact, both of which often involve a child making an accusation that someone touched them or had sex with them. Also, there are a lot of child pornography cases filed these days. Child pornography cases are often investigated by both by federal and state agencies, including the FBI and Homeland Security. These law enforcement agencies are often part of the Innocence Project, which includes law enforcement officers from federal and state task forces located in the Houston, Texas area. Often, an agent or a police officer accesses Internet chat rooms or file sharing sites using special software to reveal a computer’s IP addresses that are uploading or downloading child pornography.
When law enforcement officers discover child pornography being downloaded or distributed on the internet they then obtain the computer’s IP address and issue a subpoena to the Internet Service Provider in an effort to obtain the name and address of the account holder. The agents then obtain a search warrant to allow them to enter the account holder’s residence to seize all computers and electronics. While conducting the search, law enforcement officers often to try obtain a statement from the suspect. DO NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENTS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT. YOU WILL ONLY INCRIMINATE YOURSELF. The United States Constitution gives you the legal right to refuse to make any statements to the police.
HOW OFTEN ARE THE AUTHORITIESWRONG IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASES?
What makes child pornography cases difficult is often any statements a suspect gives are actually confessions. In most cases, while some agents execute the search, another group of agents will take the person they believe to be the suspect outside to a law enforcement vehicle. A legal issue can arise at this time as to whether the suspect is in custody when the statement is made, thus invoking the requirement of law enforcement advising the suspect of his Miranda Warnings. If the Miranda Warnings are not given an issue can arise as to whether the statement is admissible in court. In the vehicle, agents question the suspect, and often the suspect incriminates themselves, which makes defending the case more difficult, but not impossible. Without an incriminating statement, child pornography cases are often very defensible.
IS THERE A THRESHOLD FORINITIATING AN INVESTIGATION?
Technically, it is a crime to possess a single picture or video of child pornography. But often a computer user may not be familiar with file sharing programs and inadvertently download hundreds, if not thousands, of child pornography pictures or videos without intentionally or knowingly doing so. Sometimes computer users think they’ll just look at the photograph and delete it, but the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have the ability through computer forensics to discover any deleted child pornography.
A lot of child pornography is produced overseas, often in Asia and Europe. Many of this child pornography has been identified and processed by law enforcement and the identity and whereabouts of the victim are known.
For more information on Sex Crime Cases in Texas, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling Houston sex crimes attorney James Alston today (713) 228-1400.