Our Firm Obtains Probation Sentence for Client Convicted of Possessing Child Pornography

To close out 2022, our firm was able to convince a federal judge to sentence our client to probation in a child pornography case in New York City. In 2021, only 1% of defendants in federal child pornography cases received probation. According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the average prison sentence in child pornography cases is 108 months. We fought for our client, and now he gets to stay home.

 

While possessing child pornography is a very serious offense, we were able to get this rare result for our client by proving that our client’s conduct was less egregious than typical child pornography defendants, citing statistics from other cases and evaluation results proving our client was not sexually interested in children and was a low risk of re-offending. Perhaps most importantly, however, we were able to show the judge that our client had legitimate mental health conditions and recent trauma that contributed to his offense. 

 

For example, we were able to get our client evaluated by a psychologist, and he was diagnosed with autism. There is a demonstrated link between autism and child pornography. Individuals with autism often do not understand social norms and rules the way that most people do, and they also tend to be proficient with technology. This combination often leads autistic people down rabbit holes on the internet where they cross lines without understanding the ramifications of their actions, or the legal consequences. In some cases, like our client’s, recent trauma, substance abuse problems, and other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can make the problem even worse.

 

Evidence of mental health conditions like autism can be very powerful mitigating evidence for a judge, since it can show that the person charged with possessing child pornography is not a sexual predator or someone specifically interested in children. It can reflect a lesser culpability relative to other individuals who commit the same crimes. By presenting this critical information to the judge in our case, the judge was able to put our client’s offense in the right context and determine a fair sentence.

 

Because we identified our client’s mental health condition early, not only where we able to help him get a rare probation sentence in federal court—he was able to get properly diagnosed and treated. Today, our client remains a free man and spent the holidays with his family rather than in a jail cell.

 

Our client left the following review on our firm’s Google listing:

 

“It isn’t hyperbole to say that because of Tom Church I am here and able to write this review.

Despite statistically facing near certain time in prison for my charges, he was able to successfully negotiate a probationary sentence. Not only was the outcome incredibly rare, but it was also achieved far from Tom’s home state.

My case went long due to COVID related delays, and even in months where nothing was happening, he would get back immediately if I had any questions or concerns. I was also kept up to date with every milestone from arrest up until sentencing.

Where Tom really stands out is on a personal level. From the beginning he was invested in my case, and helped support both myself and relatives over any concerns. If I had a good idea all I needed to do was ask and he would consider it. He has been a good friend the duration of the case and beyond.

Criminal cases are often the worst times in a person’s life, it was for me. If I could give any advice to someone in a similar situation it would be to say your prayers and go to Church.”

 

–    James C.

 

In fact, our client’s family was so grateful, his sister left a review as well!

 

“There are no words for how thankful I am for Mr. Church. A few years ago, my brother found himself in legal trouble on a federal level. We live in New York and at first I was a bit skeptical about him choosing a firm based in Georgia to represent him. I thought with the seriousness of his charges that maybe his case wouldn’t get the attention it needed from that far away. Mr. Church proved me wrong in every way. I know there was a challenge with the height of the COVID-19 pandemic going on at the same time. Court was pushed back many times. Throughout the two and a half years, Mr. Church always kept in contact with my brother and kept him updated on his case. My brother is Autistic and Mr. Church not only provided excellent service as an attorney in his case, but he really helped give my brother the tools to help him manage his Autism and overall mental health going forward in his life. For that, I am extremely grateful. In terms of my brother’s case, he was facing very serious federal charges that almost guaranteed jail time. I was terrified of my brother being put in prison with him being Autistic and being such a kind and trusting person. He may have made mistakes, but my brother is by all means no vicious criminal. My whole family was anxious those two and half years, not knowing what would happen to him. Thankfully, he was on house arrest the whole time awaiting the courts final judgement. When the Judge made his final ruling, I breathed a sigh a relief for the first time in those two and a half years. My brother, thanks to all the work Mr. Church put in, along with my brother’s dedication to making things right, was sentenced to 5 years probation. This was a miracle, as I mentioned with his charges it seemed like some kind of prison time was guaranteed. Mr. Church helped my brother legally, but he also helped my family finally breathe a sigh of relief. As I’ve said, he put my brother on an excellent path to helping himself navigate his Autism and mental health that will have such a good impact on his future. On another note, I thought for sure that most lawyers were fake and in it for the money. Mr. Church has got to be the nicest and most compassionate lawyer I have ever met. He treated my brother and our family like dear friends rather than merely a client. He is truly a wonderful man. If you want anyone representing you, it is definitely him. He is not just representing his clients, for some he is giving hope and changing their lives for the better. This was definitely the case for my brother. I hope life brings Mr. Church many blessings for the work he does for others. It might sound cheesy, but I thank God that my brother went to Church!!!”

 

–    Jennifer C.

If you or a loved one is charged with federal child pornography offenses, contact our firm to speak to one of our experienced federal criminal defense attorneys. We will always be honest with you and work hard for you or your loved one.

Awards


Best Lawyers - Pate Johnson & Church
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100
Page Pate
Rated by Super Lawyers


loading ...
Jess Johnson
Rated by Super Lawyers


loading ...
Thomas Church
Rated by Super Lawyers


loading ...