Facebook Evidence Can Have Limited Value In Sex Crimes Cases
- August 29, 2016
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Tony Browne was found guilty of 12 counts of federal child exploitation offenses including production of child pornography, coercion and enticement of a minor, receipt of child pornography, and transfer of obscene material to a minor with females ranging in age from 12 to 17 years old. Browne created a Facebook profile wherein he pretended to be a female and befriended the girls, ultimately obtaining nude and sexually provocative photos from them. Next, Browne utilized another Facebook account under a fictitious name, Billy Button, to threaten to post the photos unless the minors provided more photos or engaged in sexual activity with him. Additionally, Browne sent images to the minors of his erect penis. In United States of America v. Tony Jefferson Browne, Browne’s appeal was rejected but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit did hold that although a preponderance of the evidence showed that Browne did create the messages, there was no way to fully authenticate the records through Facebook’s records custodian. Although the conviction was upheld, the court’s finding was that social media evidence requires authentication which takes into consideration the range of ways in which such information can be manipulated. Sex crime charges can be levied many years after an alleged incident and can result in incarceration, substantial and irreparable damage to the reputation and lifestyle of the accused in addition to the deprivation of liberty and rights, registration as a sex offender, loss of employment opportunities, possibility of civil commitment and social stigma. If you are accused of a sex crime it is absolutely imperative that you obtain experienced criminal defense counsel to begin working on your defense immediately. For more information about sexual assault, rape, endangering the welfare of a minor, internet crimes, child pornography or other sex crimes in NJ visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes and not intended to replace the advice of counsel.