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Ex-fire chief no longer facing child porn charges

Ex-fire chief no longer facing child porn charges

In February 2013, a New Jersey man was detained along with 24 other individuals as part of a child pornography sting. The 64-year-old had previously served as a fire captain in Union County before his retirement, and the charges against him revolved around allegations that he had distributed the illegal content with other users in a form of file-sharing network. In early September 2015, however, the charges against the firefighter were dismissed by a Superior Court judge.

Reports said that the judge who decided to throw out the charges did so because prosecutors ignored part of the man's statements to law enforcement. Accounts revealed that the man said he had used the Internet to search for pornographic material, but he never admitted to searching for child-related material and only saw it pop up on his computer from time to time. Although prosecutors leveraged the man's verbal statement against him, they completely omitted the fact that he maintained he was unaware of any file-sharing application throughout.

The man's attorney argued that he was not very technically proficient, stating that his complete lack of knowledge that his computer was being used to distribute child pornography should be grounds for dismissal of the indictment. Although prosecutors fought back, the judge eventually decided that they were were misrepresenting the man to the grand jury and skewing what really happened.

Those who face charges for sex offenses such as possession or distribution of child pornography may be mistakenly targeted. In addition to the chance that law enforcement operations might incorrectly identify people as criminals, there's no guarantee that prosecutors will apply justice properly. While some judges may be open to dismissing charges, accused individuals should consult with criminal defense attorneys to determine alternate strategies to use before or at trial.

Source: Scotch Plains-Fanwood Patch, "Child Porn Charges Dropped Against Former Union County Fire Captain, Reports Say" Carly Kilroy, Sept. 8, 2015

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