Mifflin County Possession of Child Pornography Case
Dismissal of All Charges – Buyer Beware When Purchasing a Used Computer
Client purchased a used computer. A short time later, the original owner of the computer was arrested and charged with Sexual Abuse of Children in Mifflin County after the police found child pornography on the owner’s computers. The Mifflin County police were informed of Client’s recent purchase of the used computer. The police obtained a search warrant for Client’s computers. A search of the computer led to the discovery of child pornography. Client was charged with Sexual Abuse of Children. Client denied that he knew that his computer contained child pornography.
State College defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle filed a pre-trial motion seeking a dismissal of the charges and also sought suppression of evidence found on the computer. For the sufficiency of evidence issue, Attorney Dunkle argued that the police did not have sufficient evidence to show that Client “possessed” the child pornography. In order to possess something, the person must be aware of the items. Here, Client denied that he knew that the computer contained the pictures, so he couldn’t possess something that he didn’t know existed. The never had the computer forensically analyzed to show that the photos were accessed or viewed after Client purchased the computer. The judge agreed with the defense argument and ruled that the warrant did not contain sufficient probable cause, so all evidence was suppressed. The Mifflin County child pornography charges were dismissed. An expungement petition was filed to have the dismissed charges removed from the Client’s record.