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Crusade against online crime heats up in California

Part of the difficulty in tracking down suspects of cybercrime in Missouri or anywhere else in the country is determining jurisdiction--that is to say, when a suspect is in one state but his activities cross state lines, prosecutors are sometimes unsure where to bring charges. But a new e-crime unit is being created in California to help investigators in that state mitigate some of those issues.

The new group of 20 investigators and prosecutors was announced earlier this month by California's attorney general. The unit's mission is to solely focus on a wide range of cybercrimes including online child pornography. Currently a handful of states have similar units, but some--including those in Texas and Florida--focus exclusively on child pornography.

The anti-crime unit has been quite active since its formation this summer. So far 20 criminal cases have been filed, and 24 other cases are under investigation. Before the formation of the unit, online crimes in California were prosecuted at the local level. That meant it was difficult to prosecute crimes that took place within multiple jurisdictions. One case in particular spanned 17 states, but because it was not easily tied to one particular jurisdiction, initial attempts to report the alleged crimes were futile.

The mere allegations of sex crimes, in particular online solicitation of a minor or online child pornography, can be difficult if not impossible to shed. Anyone accused of such a crime in Missouri would be well advised to seek legal representation from qualified criminal defense attorneys who will do whatever they can to protect the rights and the reputation of the accused.

Source: The New York Times, "California Creates Special Unit to Fight Computer Crimes," Nicole Perlroth, Dec. 13, 2011

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