The penalties for possession or dissemination of child pornography continue to get more severe.
A person can be prosecuted for possession of child pornography in both Minnesota State courts, and, federal district court. The penalties in Minnesota State courts are significant, and even more so in federal court. A sentence in federal court can easily range from 20 to 40 years. Thus support for the phrase “don’t make a federal case out of it.” The cases in federal court are generally much bigger than those in state court.
The Minnesota statutes provide that it is the police of the legislature in enacting criminal child pornography statutes to protect minors from the physical and psychological damage caused by their being used in pornographic work depicting sexual conduct which involves minors.
In Minnesota, the term minor means any person under the age of 18.
Pornographic work includes a photograph, videotape, or drawing, which uses a minor to depict actual or simulated sexual conduct. Consent by the minor or her parent is not a defense to a criminal charge. It is an affirmative defense that the pornographic work was produced using only person who were 18 years or older.
In Minnesota, under section 617.247 of the Minnesota Statutes, subdivision 4, a person who possess a pornographic work involving a minor is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced for up to 5 years. For a subsequent offense, the person may be sentenced up to 10 years in prison. For multiple count cases, where a person possesses more than one image, the sentenced are stacked, which can result in sentences of several years. It is the possession of many images which can result in very long prison sentences.
Under Minnesota law, section 617.247, subdivision 3, a person who disseminates pornographic work involving a minor, knowing or with reason to know its content and character, is guilty of a felony and ma be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 7 years. For a subsequent offense a person may be sentenced for up to 15 years.
Under Minnesota law, section 617.246 of the Minnesota Statutes, it is unlawful for a person to employ or use a minor to engage in or assist others to engage minors in any sexual performance or pornographic work. Any person who violates this law is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 10 years. A subsequent offense may result in a prison term for up to 15 years.
The emotions of the public tend to get very inflamed in regard to people charged with these crimes. We therefore have to remember that people have to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very important principle to put into practice because otherwise innocent people may be convicted. That also cannot be allowed to occur. So, by protecting the constitutional rights of the guilty, we are also protecting innocent people. That is what has made the American system of criminal justice better than those of other countries around the world. Our right to trial by jury is also critical.
Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson has been practicing law for over 30 years and knows what she is doing, and, does it well. She represents people on all criminal charges throughout the State of Minnesota. Please call today at (612) 339-5073!