PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT TO DEFINE “CONTROL” OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
A Delaware County, Pennsylvania man is challenging his conviction of “sexual abuse of children by possession and control of child pornography” by disputing the criminal statute’s definition (or lack there of ) of “control”. Anthony Diodoro admittingly viewed thirty images of child pornography on his computer, but argued that he did not save the images to the hard-drive and therefore neither possessed, nor controlled the images. Rather, the files were discovered in Mr. Diodoro’s web browser’s cache file, where files are automatically saved. Mr. Diodoro was unaware that the files were saved to the cashe.
The Pennsylvania state criminal statute relevant to child pornography is violated when a person produces, distributes, possesses, or controls sexually explicit images of children. The statute, however, does not define the terms “control” and “possess”. Justice Baer compared the scenario to a hypothetical in which a person visits an adult bookstore or has material sent to his home. Justice Eakin considered whether Mr. Diodoro’s having the opportunity to change the size of pictures on his screen demonstrated control.
The defense has argued that the statute should be voided for vagueness. The statute’s use of undefined terms does not give a person notice of what is considered criminal.
Federal Law defines child pornography as “a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, photograph, film, video, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where it a) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or b) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between person of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Possessing, making and distributing child pornography is illegal in all 50 states, including Pennsylvania, and it is an offense which carries serious legal penalties.
If you have been arrested and charged with owning, making or distributing child pornography, the Law Offices of Marc Neff can help. There are defenses which are available to you, so do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately.