In the wake of a recent arrest of a local business owner charged with disseminating indecent material to a minor, News Channel 13 contacted George LaMarche III for a legal opinion about the defense that the defendant’s Instagram account was hacked.
What is the crime of Disseminating Indecent Material to Minor
Disseminating Indecent Material to Minor is a felony under the NY State Penal Law. In order to be found guilty of this offense the Prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant knew the character and content of the material, and intended to use his computer or other electronic device to send the indecent material to a person less than 17 years old.
Can the Hacking Defense Be Successful
The defense that the defendant’s Instagram account was hacked is a valid defense to these charges. If the defendant did not know the character and content of the indecent material that was placed on his phone, and/or did not himself intend to send any indecent material to a minor, his is not guilty of the offense. It will be important to have the electronic device forensically examined by a computer forensics expert to confirm the defendant’s position.
The Defendant is Presumed Innocent
In the face of serious charges like this, too often there is a rush to judgment about the defendant’s likelihood of guilt. However, it is important to remember that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. In this day and age, with more and more computer hacking occurring, it is important to not make any assumptions until the evidence is fully explored.