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Child Porn Crimes Can Trigger Federal Law: What This Means for Pennsylvania Defendants

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Aug 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

The recent case of an Ashville, Pennsylvania, man who pleaded guilty to multiple counts of possession and production of child pornography illustrates how some child porn crimes can trigger federal law. The consequences can be severe, and anyone accused of child pornography crimes in Pennsylvania needs to know what's at stake.

Michael Sollenberger pleaded guilty to multiple instances of producing and possessing images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, producing and possessing material that depicted the sexual exploitation of minors, and producing and possessing images that were created using children under the age of 12 engaging in sexually explicit acts. In committing these crimes, Sollenberger used materials that were “shipped or transported” in “interstate or foreign commerce” from 2018 through 2020.

According to his plea agreement, Sollonberger faces up to 120 years in prison, and a $750,000 fine, and, based on his plea agreement, will serve a minimum of 35 years in prison. His actual sentence will depend on the seriousness of the crimes and his prior criminal history.

Child Porn Crimes Trigger Federal Law When Material Crosses State Lines

Child pornography is a very serious crime that comes with very severe punishment. When criminal acts involve materials that are shipped or transported across state lines, federal laws come into play, and the stakes become even higher. Specifically, federal law Title 18 USC § 2252 prohibits the willful possession, creation, distribution, and transportation of child pornography.

Interstate activity can occur in child pornography cases in many ways. Some examples include sharing or distributing illegal images across state lines on computers, tablets, and phones through online technology such as email or other file-sharing or peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.

Federal Child Porn Crimes Come With More Severe Penalties

Conviction of federal child porn crimes can result in significant prison time. Federal law provides for mandatory minimum sentences depending on the circumstances, which can increase depending on several factors, including the severity of the crimes, the age of the children involved, and whether the defendant has prior convictions for similar offenses.

For example, according to the federal statute, a person who has a prior child porn conviction and is again convicted of possessing child porn that depicts a child who is younger than 12 will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

Federal criminal law cases are tried in federal courts and follow federal rules and procedures, which are different from those of Pennsylvania's state courts. Successfully defending against federal child pornography charges requires a legal team who knows the ins and outs of the federal criminal defense process.

The LLF Law Firm Can Help Anyone Facing Federal Child Pornography Charges

The LLF Law Firm Criminal Defense Team has years of experience successfully defending clients throughout Pennsylvania in child pornography cases in the federal court system. We will fight to defend your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for you. Contact the LLF Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or submit a confidential online consultation form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!

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The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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