For those opponents of police entrapment, a recent ruling by an Alabama criminal appeals court will likely come as a disappointment, at least in regard to electronic dissemination of obscene materials and other computer sex crimes cases. As aBirmingham criminal defense lawyer representing individuals accused of criminal sexual behavior, I find some of the practices used by police and other law enforcement agencies to catch sexual predators a little difficult to swallow.
This recent decision is the first instance that an Alabama court has ruled that a crime actually has occurred when an adult uses his or her computer to convey obscene photos or other materials to what he or she believes is a child, even if that recipient is a law enforcement officer posing as a minor. While this is a blow to criminal defense attorneys who represent clients charged with sex crimes, it in no way diminishes my own personal commitment to provide an aggressive defense to people accused of crimes in our state.
According to new reports, the appeals court upheld the conviction that John Baney received in Marengo County for sending obscene pictures to what he thought were two Demopolis cheerleaders. In reality, the two profiles were created by a police officer. Although Baney and his lawyer challenged the conviction because pictures weren't received by a child, the appeals court said what mattered was Baney's intention. A new appeal is reportedly in the works by Baney's lawyer.
I have sympathy for children and minors victimized by sexual predators, but I also know that there are always two sides to every story. I also believe that every person accused of a sex crime, or any other type of crime for that matter, is entitled to a fair trial and to be represented by an attorney who will act in his or her best interests.
Computer sex still a crime, even if ‘child' is adult cop, Alabama appeals court rules, AL.com, August 7, 2009