St. Louis residents have become accustomed to using their computer for nearly everything, from shopping to working to attending to personal matters. In criminal law, computers have also become a common part of many cases.
One of the most common issues involving computers in criminal law is in the area of online child pornography. Individuals can face federal charges alleging they downloaded or traded child pornography online, which can carry serious penalties if a person is convicted.
For example, a Missouri couple was recently indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly possessing and receiving child porn. The couple, a 33-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man, was arrested and could face up to five years in prison if convicted on the charges.
The case is unique because a couple is involved in the charges, as opposed to most cases where a single individual is involved in the charges. Typically, child porn charges require the prosecution to prove that the person knowingly and intentionally possessed or received the materials at issue.
When multiple individuals live at one house, there can also be issues with who controlled the computer at issue. The person charged has to have been the one to have downloaded the illegal materials, and therefore the prosecution must show this as part of their case, which is not always easy when multiple people use the same computer. Accordingly, the bottom line is that each individual must be assessed by himself or herself, because in order to be convicted, the prosecution must meet each element of the charged offense against that person.
Source: emissourian, "Couple indicted on child porn charges," May 14, 2014