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Attorney Camas

Elite Defense in Child Pornography Cases

Child pornography defense is a sub-specialty of criminal law. While a lot of lawyers have handled some of these cases, very few have the experience or expertise to successfully challenge the search warrants on which the investigations are based, or make any real difference for clients at sentencing. 

Steve Thayer has more experience defending child pornography cases than any other attorney in Southwest Washington. He has won these cases many times in both State and Federal court, successfully challenging search warrants and obtaining unprecedented probationary sentences for clients in damage control cases. 

Just because you have been charged with possession or distribution of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct does not mean you are going to go to prison if you are defended by a lawyer with elite skills. For example, last year Mr. Thayer defended a case charged in Clark County Superior Court, alleging several counts of possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The investigation was based upon evidence recovered by law enforcement from a search warrant. Mr. Thayer challenged the legality of the search warrant, arguing that it was unlawfully issued because it was not supported by probable cause. The case was briefed and argued and the defense motion to suppress the evidence and dismiss the case was granted by the court. 

In another case Mr. Thayer defended in the Clark County Superior Court this year, his client was charged with several counts of possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The State’s evidence was initially obtained by a police search of a closed box turned in by a citizen who found it on a hiking trail in Camas. The police examined the contents for proof of ownership and found thumb drives. Examining one of the thumb drives they were able to identify the owner. In the process suspicious images of young children were identified. This led Camas police to obtain a search warrant to search the rest of the thumb drives found in the box for evidence of child pornography. Mr. Thayer filed a motion to suppress and dismiss on grounds that the warrant lacked probable cause. The motion was granted by the judge, the evidence was suppressed, and the case was dismissed. 

Mr. Thayer has also achieved unprecedented zero jail time sentence outcomes for clients in Federal Court in child pornography cases where offenders had always been sentenced to prison before. 

Research and clinical experience has established that child pornography offenders are extremely unlikely to reoffend as a population. Nevertheless, sentencings almost uniformly result in over-punishment in the form of long-term prison sentences which are inhumane, unnecessary to protect the public from the risk of re-offense, and unnecessarily expensive. Moreover, the law often fails to fully account for mitigating circumstances such as youth and immaturity or a history of sexual abuse as a minor in fashioning the draconian sentencing grids that are more of a result of congressional emotion than reason.

Our criminal justice system still has a long way to go before typical sentencing outcomes begin to reflect the progress made in modern behavioral modification counseling techniques, the research on modern recidivism rates for offenders who receive outpatient probationary treatment vs. offenders who are institutionalized, and the science which shows youth and immaturity should be factored in as a mitigating circumstance in appropriate cases. As a result, child pornography cases continue to be prosecuted with a severity that bears no rational basis to progress that has been made in these areas over the last 45 years. This is a struggle Mr. Thayer has dedicated himself to now for four decades and counting, and he is still accepting clients charged with child pornography today.

Posted on by Steven W. Thayer, PS
Elite Defense in Child Pornography Cases

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