It’s one of the more mind boggling convictions we see. People being convicted of “distribution” of child pornography, even though they never actively sent it, knew it was being transmitted or communicating with the recipient.
It happens through the use of “peer-to-peer” software, which essentially shares folders on your computer with others on the world wide web. This peer-to-peer software (or “torrent”) can enable someone to reach in and grab files from others’ computers, and in turn, they can reach into your computer and grab files from yours.”
I see it this way… imagine you leave a baggie of marijuana sitting on your front passenger seat as you run into a convenience store to buy rolling papers. Someone walks by your car and sees the bag, reaches into your car and grabs it. Should you be convicted of distribution of a controlled substance? I would think not. If it was a police officer seeing the weed sitting there in plain site, perhaps possession, but to me, distribution would be a long shot.
Section 847.0137(2), Florida Statutes, provides that “any person in this state who knew or reasonably should have known that he or she was transmitting child pornography” commits the distribution felony. In a case decided in the 2nd District Court of Florida last week, the Court rejected the argument of a man who “did not dispute that he downloaded and looked at the images but contended that there was no evidence “he did something that caused [the videos] to be sent.”” and stated there is no requirement for an affirmative act of sending the image. By moving the video to a folder where it could be accessed, he “reasonably should have known that he was transmitting it”.
Interestingly, in this case, by the time law enforcement had seized his computer, the video had been deleted. It’s similar to many cases we hear about where someone downloads a bunch of stuff through a file sharing program, might not know everything that was downloaded, subsequently deletes the file once they discover what it is, and now find themselves on the registry.
the case is Jeror v State