Defendant’s Child Pornography Conviction Overturned Where Other People Had Equal Access to the Computer Used to Download the Pornography
A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has reversed a child pornography conviction in United States of America v. Keith Moreland. At the trial of this case, the prosecutor introduced 112 digital images of alleged child pornography that a local police officer found on two home computers owned by Keith Moreland and his wife Dianna. Because Keith’s father, George Moreland, was terminally ill and required assisted living, he resided with Keith and Dianna off and on during 2007 and until his death in January 2008.
Keith, Dianna, and Keith’s brother all testified to George’s affinity for pornography. Dianna testified that George would use the computers at night when the rest of the family was in bed. The police officer admitted he could not determine the images’ origin or if Keith, Dianna, George, or another person was using the computers when the images were received.
Because of this, the Court of Appeals found that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding beyond a reasonable doubt that Keith knowingly possessed the images. The court held that the evidence did not sufficiently show a rational jury could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Keith knew the images were in the computers or that he had the requisite knowledge and ability to access them and to exercise dominion or control over them. The District Court’s judgment of conviction was reversed.
All persons charged with crimes are entitled to the protections afforded by the United States Constitution. An experienced criminal defense attorney helps to ensure that a defendant’s rights are protected before, during and after a trial. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. For a confidential consultation, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff at (215) 563-9800 or via email at email@example.com.