Critics Say Federal Law Hampers Internet Child Porn Defense

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As the Justice Department steps up an aggressive crackdown on Internet child pornography, a provision of a sex offender law is making it harder for defense attorneys to review some of the most important evidence, reports McClatchy News Service. Under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, judges and prosecutors are requiring defense attorneys and computer forensic experts to examine digital pornography images on computers at government facilities, rather than getting their own copies.

The new provision has triggered al debate about the constitutional rights of suspects who are accused of some of the most heinous crimes. Supporters say the measure is needed to prevent children from being revictimized by copying and distributing of the digital contraband. Many of the images gathered as part of the evidence depict very young children being raped and beaten. ”This has had a profound effect on defense work,” said Wayne Marney, a computer forensics expert and former Oregon state trooper. “It could make a difference between whether someone is convicted or found not guilty.” experts say a thorough examination of the images is crucial because malicious software and the widespread use of legal adult porn and popular file-sharing networks mean that suspects could have downloaded or sent child pornography unintentionally.

Link: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation/story/271866.html

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