Last year, a former Michigan firefighter and radio dispatcher pleaded guilty to production of child pornography charges in federal court. The man was allegedly in contact with a 12-year-old girl between the months of June, 2012 and January, 2013. Using an iPod and video chat software the two exchanged sexually explicit pictures and videos. After several months, the man felt guilty and he emailed the young girl’s mother to offer to help pay for the cost of counseling.
According to a report by KXLY.com, the man was convicted of furnishing obscenity to a minor and successfully completed his sentence of probation. This time, he was charged with four counts, including production of child pornography, coercion and enticement, receipt of child pornography, and transfer of obscene matter to a minor. The former firefighter entered into a plea bargain with prosecutors where he would plead guilty to the production charge and the other charges would be dropped.
Child Pornography Charges in Federal Court Crimes of a sexual nature are considered some of the most serious in the federal criminal justice system. This is even more true when the victim of the offense is a child. For example, a charge of production of child pornography carries with it a minimum sentence of fifteen to thirty years. Keep in mind this is a bare minimum; the sentence can be much longer if there are prior convictions, even if they are not of a sexual nature.
In addition to a lengthy prison sentence and the other collateral consequences of a felony conviction, a conviction for a sex-related crime will generally require lifetime registration on a sex-offender registry.
The Prevalence of Plea Bargains in the Federal Criminal Justice System In this day and age, many federal criminal defendants accept plea bargains. While plea bargains have been used by prosecutors for years, they have become even more common lately. For example, in 1990 84% of federal criminal cases ended with a plea bargain; compare that to 2011 when 97% of federal cases were resolved in a plea bargain.
The reasons why a prosecutor might offer a defendant a plea bargain are numerous, but the bottom line is that it is a way for prosecutors to control their often heavy caseload. Prosecutors are busy and it behooves them to divert some of their cases away from the trial process. This reality means that some criminal defendants may be able to bypass trial and accept a favorable deal from the prosecutor.
Are You Facing Federal Sex-Crime Charges? If you are facing federal criminal charges for a crime of a sexual nature, you need to ensure that you have an experienced Michigan federal criminal defense attorney at your side. The unfortunate truth is that an unrepresented defendant often gets taken advantage of in the federal criminal justice system. With the assistance of an attorney who understands sex crimes and how these cases progress through the system, you increase your chance of resolving the case in a more favorable manner. Contact an experienced Michigan criminal offense attorney online today.