MORE VOYEURISM AND CHILD PORN CHARGES AFTER TWO ADDITIONAL WARRANTS

Jacksonville Beach photographer, already in jail, receives additional charges

Currently jailed Jacksonville Beach photographer Mario Peralta was just given “add-ons” in jail speak. Add-ons are additional charges placed on a defendant already in custody on other charges. These are additional charges resulting from two search warrants generated following his initial arrest.  Peralta was initially arrested back in May, 2015, per the police report, after the father of a young female client of his photography and video studio discovered a tiny camera planted in a digital clock.  The clock was in the changing room.  The police report states the father removed the SD card from the clock, put it in his pocket and later reviewed the contents of the SD card once he got home to his own computer. The report states that the father notified law enforcement after seeing the video images of naked young girls stored on the SM card. Mr. Peralta has retained legal counsel and is presumed innocent until he either enters a plea or the state attorney proves the case beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Search warrants, arrest warrants

As is very common in cases containing digital storage and digital history, once a defendant is in custody, law enforcement wants to examine any cell phones, tablets, laptops and work and home personal computers attributed to the recently arrested suspect.  Law Enforcement today is extremely tech savvy.  If a small police agency does not have the expertise or equipment to forensically examine digitally stored evidence, frequently a larger neighboring department or federal agency is called in.  Here, this investigation was conducted by  the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.  From the reports listed in public records, it appears that the detectives at Jacksonville Beach requested two separate search warrants.  One search warrant was for the suspect’s home.  This resulted in law enforcement carrying off several thumbdrives, hard drives, external hard drives and two computer “towers.”    The second search warrant obtained by Jacksonville Beach Police was sought and granted giving them the authority to forensically examine the contents of the items seized.  The reports state that the forensic examination was conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s computer forensic investigation lab.  While this defendant sat in jail on his initial charges, Homeland Security, based upon a judge signing the second search warrant,  examined the contents of the items taken in the first warrant.  Records show that the report from the federal analysts was issued to Jacksonville Beach Police in early November, 2015.  Once local law enforcement saw that they could charge this defendant with more crimes, arrest warrants were sought by the police.  It appears that from  the reports  two arrest warrants were generated and although the defendant was already in jail, he was arrested on new charges, once the warrants were served on him.  Locally a defendant receives an “add-on” by simply being taken from his cell down to classifications, being advised of the new charges and being fingerprinted on the new charges.   Serving an arrest warrant on a defendant already in jail is more akin to an administrative procedure as opposed to an arrest in the field.

Do I have a warrant?

Our firm handles phone calls daily from folks worried about warrants. Some have a warrant and know it, usually knowing about it for some time.  Others call in because they were told deputies went by their house or a relative’s house and were asking the whereabouts of the caller.  It is our firm’s position that one should turn themselves in the instant they learn they have a warrant. Although nobody wants to go to jail, turning one’s self in shows that the defendant is not running from the court system.  It helps enormously with any future argument for a bond reduction.  Many times our office turns suspects in on warrants so the family, and in particular the family dog, of the soon to be arrested does not have to be traumatized and put in a dangerous situation when the police arrive in the middle of the night to serve an arrest warrant.

Sex Crimes and Lifetime Registration

This defendant now faces child pornography charges.  Each video or photograph can generate a new charge.  After forensically examining the computer hardware, law enforcement added 18 new charges of “sexual performance by a child.”  In addition to prison, these type of charges require registration as a sex offender for the remainder of one’s life.  Under Florida law, the sex offender or predator can be located on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) website and his or her address is public record.  For example, this writer, while conducting research for this post discovered that, per FDLE’s published information, 94 offenders/predators were “found” at the Duval County Jail, 501 E. Adams Street, Jacksonville, Florida, 32202.  This writer also discovered that 51 offenders live less than 400 yards (FDLE says .2 of a mile SW) from the massive, newly constructed Duval County Courthouse.  They reside, per FDLE, at 521 West Bay Street, Jacksonville, Florida, 32202.  The building is a generic brick building with a pawn and jewelry store on the bottom floor.  This writer then researched public records and found “Bid #SP-02787-13, TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FOR SEX-OFFENDERS” where the City of Jacksonville agreed to pay $16.67 per night, per offender.  Apparently, these offenders are in the common position many prison releasees find themselves in being one step above homelessness. Virtually all communities have restrictions of where these offenders can live.  The point is that those convicted of sex crimes, on average, do long prison sentences. Upon release they must register as an offender or predator for the balance of their lives. In Florida, they must re-register within 48 hours of a move. Failure to register is a 3rd degree felony where the offender will “score” four years out of a five year exposure. Many offenders repeatedly return to prison on this charge.

Sex crimes are serious. The laws of most states are brutal in this area.  The allegations can take years to surface.  There does not have to be any forensic evidence. If you or a loved one thinks you may have a problem with a pending sexual allegation, get yourself a lawyer.  The Forbess Law Firm has provided sex crime defense for years in Duval, Nassau, Clay, St. Johns, Baker and Bradford counties.