In a recent child pornography case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his convictions for sexual exploitation of a minor. On appeal, the defendant argued that the court admitted additional images of child pornography for which he was not charged and that these additional images unfairly biased the jury deciding his case. After considering his argument, the court rejected the appeal and affirmed the original convictions and sentences.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, investigators obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s house after they began suspecting him of dealing with child pornography. During the search, the investigators found an electronic data storage card that contained ten images of child pornography. Investigators found various other exploitive images during the search, and the defendant was indicted for ten counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.
The defendant’s case went to trial, and he was found guilty. The court sentenced the defendant to prison terms totaling 102 years. He promptly appealed.
On appeal, the defendant made a couple of arguments. The main argument was based on the defendant’s theory that the court admitted extra evidence of child pornography that was not supposed to be included in the prosecution’s case against him. This additional evidence was unnecessary, therefore biasing the jury by provoking feelings of outrage and anger among jury members. Specifically, the defendant took issue with the fact that the prosecution presented several Google searches made by the defendant, photos of additional child pornography from the defendant’s jump drive, and over one hundred images of child pornography from the defendant’s hard drive. Because the defendant was not being charged for these additional instances of child pornography, he argued that the court should not have allowed them to be entered into evidence.
The court did acknowledge that this additional evidence was harmful to the defendant, but it also said that the evidence was not “unfairly prejudicial.” The jury members never saw the additional images themselves; they only heard a witness testify to the fact that these images were found on the defendant’s electronic devices. Additionally, these extra photos were either similar or identical to the photos for which the defendant was charged. Given these factors, the additional evidence did not unnecessarily bias the jury, and the trial court acted reasonably in admitting these photos into evidence.
Given this disagreement, the higher court denied the defendant’s appeal and affirmed his convictions.
Have You Been Charged with a Sex Crime in Arizona?
If you or a loved one is facing charges based on Arizona child pornography crimes, give us a call at the Law Office of James E. Novak. We understand the factors that courts consider when deciding a case, and we are prepared to fight for your rights with this expertise in mind. Our firm is dedicated to the philosophy that “the client’s needs and defense come first” and we are deeply committed to that priority. For your free and confidential consultation, give us a call at 480-413-1499. You can also send us a message online to have your questions answered.