The Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog has advised many times that you not try to out-fight, out-run or out-smart investigating officers.

However, it would appear that I had failed to advise something else…something I thought was a given. Apparently, I was wrong. Sorry.

But here it is…when law enforcement comes a-calling and letting you know that they are investigating you for criminal activity and do things like take away your computer…it is not a wise thing to then go and do the same thing for which they say they are investigating you.

Let’s discuss the matter of 23-year-old Keven McNicol (hereinafter, the “Defendant”). Now, he has pleaded “not guilty” to all charges, so as far as I know, he is innocent of all the nasty things folks are saying about him.

The Commonwealth says that he is yet another threat to children to hit the headlines recently. According to law enforcement, the Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (“ICAC”) received a tip nearly nine months ago from a National Center for Missing Exploited Children CyberTipline. The information concerned an upload of child pornography to a website.

A joint criminal investigation ensued between ICAC, Massachusetts State Police, the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office, and the Barnstable Police Department. As part of that investigation, the Defendant’s laptop computer was seized pursuant to a search warrant.

The Defendant was not arrested at that time. Instead, there was a forensic examination of his computer which allegedly revealed several videos and images of young females being posed in states of nudity and engaged in sexual acts. The Commonwealth says that the videos appeared to have been created during webcam chats the Defendant was having with the young females. The search was on for the girls and, finally, one was found and interviewed.

Now, you may be wondering what the Defendant was doing with himself while the authorities continued their criminal investigation.

Well, according to the Commonwealth, the girl interviewed reported that two months after the Defendant’s computer had been seized, he had contacted her again online, continuing his efforts to get her to take more pictures of herself to send to him.

On February 6th, armed with an arrest warrant, authorities arrested the Defendant in North Weymouth. He has been arraigned in Barnstable District Court on charges of posing a child nude and engaged in sexual activity, possession of child pornography, disseminating obscene matter to minors, and videotaping a nude person without their knowledge.

Bail was set at $5000 and various conditions were set should he be released.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Child Pornography Cases

There is an old adage about a criminal always returning to the scene of the crime. However, this is a new twist, with allegations that he returned to the scene to do the crime all over again. Not the wisest of ideas.

Of course, it bears repeating that the Defendant has been convicted of none of this. He remains, at least as far as the United States Constitution, innocent.

It is unlikely that this case will stay in district court, so the particular charges that have been brought are almost meaningless. The matter will most likely be indicted and moved to superior court where the particular charges brought will follow the case. One would imagine that there will be charges for the allegations both before and after the seizing of the computer.

“So the jury will have to determine if he is guilty of all the charges or, in the alternative, none of them?”

Well, both are potential verdicts. However, so is a mixed set of verdicts. In other words, he could be convicted of some of the charges and acquitted of others.

Perhaps the defense will try to show some combination of entrapment and insanity. Maybe the defense will be that he has no idea how that stuff got on his computer before the Commonwealth seized it, but when they did seize it to search for child pornography, it planted the idea in his mind and, given a troubled mental state, he was compelled to go online and find out for himself what all the fuss was about.

Charges involving child pornography are taken extremely seriously. Sometimes they are prosecuted in state court and sometimes in federal court. These days, the cases almost certainly involve the internet, which will give the federal system jurisdiction if the prosecutors want it. This is a Massachusetts cyber crime that seldom does not get indicted.

What many people do not know is that, due to modern technology, the government is usually able to identify some, if not all, of the children in such photos and videos. They learn their stories. As a result, the case gets a more human face. The items are no longer simply sterile pictures and videos. They are given more flesh and blood.

The result can be devastating on a jury.

Meanwhile, there are still people who come to me after the accusatory finger has been pointed at them having already made all kinds of confessions, accepting the law enforcement lines that, if they “tell their side of it”, they will talk themselves out of trouble. Maybe even make themselves out to be victims of a sad and troubled past which led them to the crime.

Said lines are usually, to be blunt, lies. Lies that law enforcement officers are allowed to tell suspects in hopes of gaining an admission to use at trial.

The bottom line advice is the same here, folks. Cooperate with the officers in terms of not fighting them or giving them grief for doing their jobs. This does not mean that you must make all kinds of statements about your history with illegal material because the nice investigator says that he can “close the file” after he gets your view of things.

He already knows about your view of things…at least what it will be in a few minutes. It will be looking out at the rest of the world from the inside of a holding cell.

Get an experienced criminal defense attorney before joining the prosecution team in your own case.

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