NEW YORK POLICE CHIEF ARRESTED FOR CHILD PORN

Mount Pleasant Police Department Website and Sex Offenders

A former police chief, Brian Fanelli, of the Mount Pleasant police Department, has entered a not guilty plea to charges of possession and transmission of child pornography.  This is according to a May 21 article released by the Associated Press.  The police chief was arrested in January, still has the presumption of innocence and every right to mount a vigorous defense to these charges.  Ironically, the Mt. Pleasant Police Department, which Fanelli ran for the town of about 43,000 people, devoted a large amount of its website to inform the public about sex offenders in the area, who they are, where they live, what behavior led to their arrest, and even has a video the public can watch about sexual predators.  The site provides links and updates to alert the public about sex offenders that have newly arrived in town, down to the specific arrival date and residence of the offender.

Florida Sex Crimes

As stated in the article, this wave of New York arrests was done by a Homeland Security element of the Department of Immigration, Customs and Enforcement, commonly referred to by the acronym ICE.  In Florida, these type of sex crimes are usually investigated by a combination of federal, state and local law enforcement operating as amazingly proficient task forces.  At the local level, small police departments, although good at what they do on a daily basis, usually don’t have the talent, technology or budget for these more sophisticated investigations.  Florida Statute 847.0137  makes the electronic transmission of sexually explicit images of anyone under 18 years of age a third degree felony.  These sex crimes are prosecuted at either the state or federal level. In most child pornography cases there are a enormous amount of filed “counts” as each electronic  transmission or download represents a separate chargeable offense.  With such a huge amount of charges the defendant’s score, under the Florida sentencing guidelines, increases with every felony adjudication.  With today’s cell phone and tablet technology, many people send explicit photos back and forth.  This is very risky behavior and very much illegal if the photo is of a minor.  This is a new wave of crimes combining new or evolving technology with a person putting this technology to use in an illegal manner.  Much of this is done as “sexting” by young adults.   There was no such thing as an obscene phone call until the advent of the telephone. No grand theft auto statute until we had autos. There was no crime of fraudulent use of a credit card until credit cards came into existence.  The technology of today, when put to the wrong use, certainly exposes a large amount of people to an arrest on a sex charge.

 Sex Crimes Bring Harsh Punishment

Florida lawmakers have placed the penalty for certain sex crimes right in line with with murder, armed robbery and the upper level drug trafficking statutes.  Minimum mandatory sentences are routinely required once the state attorney files the case as one requiring such a sentence. This is the state attorney’s discretionary decision setting the stage for what the judge has to dole out as a minimum punishment should the defendant plea or be found guilty at trial.  Many people arrested and accused of sex crimes have had no prior interaction with the criminal justice system.  It is critically important that constitutional rights of the accused be preserved and protected. The Forbess Law Firm has defended scores of people facing charges of sex crimes in Jacksonville, Clay County or Nassau County areas.  Experienced Jacksonville sex crimes attorney, Ray Forbess, Sr., 904-634-0900, always offers a no obligation, no cost consultation and/or jail visit.