MICHAEL v. COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
Virginia Child Pornography Case Summary.
On September 4, 2003, police interviewed defendant’s roommate regarding child pornography he found on defendant’s computer. On September 9, 2003, based on the roommate’s affidavit, police executed a search warrant at defendant’s residence. The search resulted in discovery of four hard drives, multiple zip disks, and multiple 3.5-inch diskettes that contained images of child pornography. The Circuit Court of the City of Richmond convicted defendant on twenty-four counts of possession of child pornography, in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-374.1:1 and sentenced him to twenty-four months in prison. Defendant appealed.
- Whether defendant’s prosecution under Code § 18.2-374.1:1 violated his “constitutional right to be free from ex post facto punishment?
The Court held that the defendant was indicted for possession of child pornography on September 9, 2003, two months after possession of child pornography became a felony under Code § 18.2-374.1:1. The Commonwealth met its burden of establishing that on September 9, 2003, defendant was aware of and knowingly possessed child pornographic materials on his computer and accessories. The mere fact that some of defendant’s acts proving his possession in September 2003 occurred before the change in the law does not preclude application of the new law. The trial court found that defendant continued to possess the child pornographic images at the time of his arrest, notwithstanding the date the images were originally downloaded. Accordingly, this court affirms defendant’s convictions for possession of child pornography.
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