Harve White was arrested in Hollywood, Florida for possession of child pornography. According to police, Harve White allegedly possessed approximately 900 images of child pornography.
Pursuant to Florida Statutes, White can be charged with one count for each and every image of child pornography he possessed. As a result, the laws that control criminal sentencing in Florida will require a minimum prison sentence that undoubtedly exceeds White’s natural life.
As a practicing criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, I can tell you prosecutors will ask for a minimum of 10 years in prison as a plea bargain. Given White’s age and the very large quantity of child pornography he allegedly possessed, I would not be surprised if prosecutors offered him a plea bargain of 15 years in prison or more.
According to news reports, the child pornography was recovered after police served a search warrant on Harve White’s house early yesterday morning. Police claim that 300 images of child pornography were recovered from a computer and 600 additional images were recovered from a hard drive.
White supposedly admitted to viewing the child pornography on the computer using a file-sharing program.
As a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney, this case scenario is one that is extremely common and is one I have litigated many times in the past. Based on my experience defending people against such charges, I can tell you that Harve White may have some very formidable defenses.
If I was Harve White’s criminal defense lawyer, I would begin my work by reviewing every single detail of his case. I would want to know how he came to be on the police radar.
How did they learn of his child pornography collection? How did they come to the conclusion that White was in possession of child pornography in his computers? What was the basis of the search warrant application? What facts did they learn to support their request for a search warrant?
Ultimately, possession of child pornography cases are won and lost on two main issues.
First, did the police conduct an illegal search at any time? If the police unlawfully invaded White’s privacy, whether we are talking about his house, his computer, or any online accounts, any and all evidence obtained as a result would be tainted and therefore rendered inadmissible for use at trial by prosecutors.
When the prosecution’s evidence gets suppressed as a result of an illegal search and seizure by police, the effect on their case can be catastrophic.
If prosecutors are smart, they are able to realize when they have a losing situation and can find themselves in a situation where they need to negotiate a favorable plea bargain with the defendant. In other cases, prosecutors may have to reduce charges or even drop them entirely.
The second factor that can make a difference in a possession of child pornography case concerns illegally obtained confessions or statements. In Harve White’s case, police claim he admitted to viewing the child pornography on this computer.
In order for this statement to be admissible in court against White, police would have had to advise him of his right to remain silent and his right to counsel, prior to any questioning. This assumes, however, that the statements at issue were obtained during “custodial interrogation,” which occurs when a person is under arrest or already in police custody.
Ultimately, Harve White is facing an extremely serious criminal offense. For that reason, he absolutely must hire the best criminal defense lawyer he can find. Given the incredibly offensive nature of child pornography, odds are his case can only be won by attacking the prosecution’s evidence pre-trial.