Child pornography sweep illustrates the severe penalties of this crime
Due to recent changes to New Jersey’s child pornography laws, a man now faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years if he is convicted.
Possessing, distributing or creating child pornography is a crime associated with severe penalties in the state of New Jersey and on the federal level. For example, according to CBS New York, 14 men in New Jersey were recently arrested in a child pornography sweep. Authorities on this case say that the men used a file-sharing network to share explicit images online. During this sweep, another man was accused of hacking into a young girl's email account and convincing her to strip using a webcam. Due to the state's recently reformed child pornography laws, the man could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Changes to New Jersey's child pornography law
In 2013, Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into action that strengthened New Jersey's child pornography laws, making them more similar to federal laws. According to nj.com, this legislation requires those convicted of distributing over 25 pornographic images of children to spend a minimum of five years in prison for a first offense and up to 10 years for consequent convictions.
The state's current pornography legislation was also reformed in additional ways. These include the following:
- Anyone who is convicted of engaging in child pornography is required to serve at least 85 percent of their prison term, known as the "No Early Release Act".
- Sharing pornographic images through file-sharing platforms and peer-to-peer software is now considered both possession and distribution.
- Engaging in child pornography is a first-degree crime for guardians and non-parents. Before this legislation was passed, it was already a first-degree crime for parents to engage in children pornography.
This new legislated passed through both houses of the state legislature without any opposition.
According to the United States Department of Justice, images of child pornography are not protected under the First Amendment and are considered illegal contraband. Under the United States Code, child pornography is any visual file of a person under the age of 18 involved in sexually explicit conduct.
However, this does not mean that a minor has to be actively participating in sexual activity for the visual to be considered illegal. For instance, a picture of a child who is naked may constitute as child pornography if it is considered sexually aggressive in any way.
Those who are facing charges for creating, distributing or possessing child pornography not only may be required to spend several years in prison, but may also risk compromising their personal and professional reputation. If you were arrested on child pornography charges, consult with an attorney who can fight for your legal rights at this time.