Limited Access to Discovery for Child Pornography Defense?
- May 3, 2013
- No comments
The New Jersey Supreme Court is weighing whether defendant is entitled to equal opportunity to review the prosecution’s discovery in a case involving child pornography. Defendant was charged with second-degree and fourth-degree counts of child-welfare endangerment after a search pursuant to a valid warrant revealed alleged child pornography on his home computer. In State v. Scoles, the defense sought to challenge the authenticity of images the State claimed to be child pornography. When the prosecution refused to permit the defendant unfettered access to the images and only agreed to permit limited review at the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office. Defendant filed a motion to obtain the discovery in order to obtain exact copies of the images in order that defense counsel have convenient and unlimited review at all times as the prosecution would have during their trial preparation. The Superior Court Judge denied the defendant’s motion and an interlocutory appeal was also denied. The NJ Supreme Court is now considering whether permitting defense counsel to review the images within the prosecutor’s office only, and upon 48 hours notice, adequately served defendant’s right to review discovery in an effort to prepare a defense. Lawyers for the defense, and in amicus capacity, presented arguments based on the need for unlimited access in preparation and methods to protect the information from further dissemination including limiting who may review the images and requiring that they be installed on a device without ability to transmit. The prosecution’s argument centered on the premise that the need to prevent further dissemination of the images outweighed the need for defense counsel to review the images outside the prosecutor’s office, at any hour and without notice. The prosecution argued that computers keep a record of images displayed on them and returning the hard drive would not render the computer clean or protect the subjects of the images from further dissemination of said images. If you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey, you should obtain experienced defense counsel immediately to insure your rights are protected and the prosecution is not withholding exculpatory evidence, any search and seizure was proper, the state had probable cause and other facets of the case your defense attorney may challenge. If you are facing criminal charges, you should consult an experienced criminal law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on sex-offenses, child welfare-endangerment, child pornography or other criminal law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter.