This is the next post in a series of articles about defending against child pornography charges in Austin, Texas. My previous post discussed how violations of the Fourth Amendment by law enforcement may provide a possible defense against such charges. When police conduct illegal searches without the required warrants and find evidence in the process, it is possible to argue that the illegally seized evidence should be excluded from trial. Depending on the other evidence available, the exclusion may lead to dismissal of the charges completely. In this post, I will provide general information about what to expect at a child pornography trial. Understanding the process can help manage defendants’ expectations and prepare for the case. If you have been arrested on such charges then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
As in any criminal case in Texas, defendants in child pornography cases are entitled to a trial by jury. Jurors are chosen from a “pool” of individuals. During the selection process, attorneys for the defense and the prosecution will have the ability to challenge and remove a certain number of potential jurors from the jury pool. This allows each side to remove those jurors whom they feel may not be unbiased, so long as the challenges are not based on race, ethnicity, gender or other protected category. Once the jury is empaneled and the trial begins, the prosecution and defense will make their respective opening statements, which provide an overview of the main elements of each party’s case. The prosecution will then present its witnesses and evidence. The defense will have the same opportunity. Both sides may cross-examine the witnesses presented by the other. The prosecution may present additional information to rebut evidence presented by the defense. Next, each attorney will present their closing arguments. Once the evidence is complete the jury will deliberate and render its verdict.
As in any trial, the evidence presented to the jury by the prosecution and the defense attorney will be very fact specific. Child pornography cases may involve complex evidence that must have proven ties to the defendant, such as computer files, electronic communications, or internet traffic. Possible defenses include that the defendant did not “knowingly” possess or solicit child pornography or that a given electronic device did not actually belong to the defendant. The state must also prove that the defendant knew the images were of a child younger than 18 years of age. The success or failure of any defense will depend largely on the ability of defense counsel to clearly communicate complex information to the jury. A criminal defense attorney with jury trial experience will work to effectively and concisely explain the legal theories and factual information in a way that the jury will understand. Experienced counsel will also pursue other avenues in order to effectively challenge the prosecution’s case.
If you have been arrested for child pornography charges, then contact my office to speak with an Austin criminal defense lawyer. I am certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in criminal law and I strive to provide the highest levels of service. I also serve the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.