Rickey Orelle Masters was arrested in Hollywood, Florida for possession of child pornography. He is presently being held on a $55,100 bond. According to news reports, Rickey Masters was arrested after police discovered he had been allegedly sharing child pornography over the internet using a file sharing program.
As a criminal defense lawyer who handles possession of child pornography cases, I can tell you that this scenario is extremely common. In fact, if it were not for file sharing networks, many offenders would go undetected by law enforcement.
However, insofar as Rickey Masters is concerned, his case boils down to three legal issues. First, Masters needs to get a bond posted so he can get out of jail pending resolution of his case.
Possession of child pornography is a very serious offense, however, it is not one that legally requires pretrial detention. While bond in these cases are usually set very high, it is possible to motion the court for a bond reduction.
When a motion to reduce bond is filed, a criminal defense lawyer usually presents mitigating financial information accompanied by evidence that the defendant, in this case Rickey Masters, has extensive ties to the community and is not a flight risk. The lack of any meaningful criminal history will also help.
The second legal issue that will determine the outcome of Rickey Master’s case concerns the legality if the search and seizure conducted by law enforcement. Even though Rickey Masters shared his video library on an internet file sharing website, the question boils down to how the police came to identify him and search his computers.
Some cases present very black and white instances of illegal police conduct. Others are not so clear. Of course, there are also the many cases where the police follow the law and any search and seizure performed was done so lawfully.
Whether a search and seizure was done lawfully is an extremely important question that must be answered by Rickey Master’s criminal defense lawyer.
If the search and seizure conducted by police was unlawful, then any evidence obtained as a result becomes inadmissible in court.
When evidence becomes inadmissible in court, prosecutors may see their entire case fall out from underneath them. Losing evidence means they are most likely unable to prove the charges at issue. When this occurs, prosecutors may have no other choice but bargain with the defendant, lower charges, or even dismiss certain charges.
It is also important to note that an illegal search and seizure can occur even when the police have a warrant. When a search warrant is used, the search and seizure may still be illegal when the basis for the search warrant is either invalid or based on other illegally obtained evidence.
Nothing can be taken for granted. To determine if this case presents any such defenses, Rickey Masters’ criminal defense attorney will need to do a thorough job investigating his case.
The third legal issue in Rickey Master’s case concerns his alleged confession. Put simply, if the police did not read him his Miranda Rights before questioning him in custody, then any statements Masters may have made may also become inadmissible in court.
Depending on the facts of Rickey Masters’ case, the alleged confession may play a pivotal role for prosecutors. If criminal defense lawyers are successful at getting the confession thrown out from court, it may compel prosecutors to bargain with Masters or even dismiss all or some of the charges at issue.
Again, each case is unique unto itself and Rickey Masters’ criminal defense attorneys will need to thoroughly investigate his case.
Ultimately, no concrete conclusions about this case can be drawn until such an investigation can be completed. If I was Rickey Masters, I would try to hire the most experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer I could find. Knowing the ins and outs of child pornography prosecutions is essential.